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Bumbrey shares surviving breast cancer

Frances Williams Bumbrey never thought that a breast cancer diagnosis would happen to her.

However, in 2012, her life changed when she was diagnosed in Montgomery.

“I always had mammograms even when I lived in other cities before moving back here,” she said. “I did have my first mammogram here and then they sent me to Montgomery and they saw something.

“It was just I can’t believe this,” she said talking about her reaction to the diagnosis. “I thought I had done everything I was supposed to do. Examines each month and annual exams and trying to eat the right foods. I guess it was just my time. There was no history of breast cancer in my family. My father had had cancer and other members of my family but not breast cancer.”

After the diagnosis treatment began.

“I didn’t have to have chemotherapy but I did have radiation treatment,” she said. “I do go every year to the cancer center in Montgomery to be examined.”

Bumbrey said the exams now are to just make sure that the cancer does not come back and that her body is still healing well.

“The treatment … I went through it weekly,” she said. “I didn’t really get sick but I was tired after the treatment. There were a lot of things I could not do like driving but I could continue my daily life and participate in various things. I was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015. I went from one thing to another. I’m able to do some things and I’m blessed that I’m able to do these things. I try not to give up and feel sorry for myself. There’s some people that are worse off than I am. I’m blessed that I’m able to do the things I can do.

“I encourage ladies and young ladies to do self-exams once a month and to make sure they go to the doctors for exams,” she said. “We just have to take care of ourselves.”

Bumbrey is a retired educator and she said the need to provide a public service by educating other women about breast cancer still keeps her working hard.

“I think education is most important, and I want to do whatever I can to help our children or as Dr. (Avis) Williams calls them, our scholars,” she said.

When asked what she would tell others that find out they are diagnosed with cancer Bumbrey said she would tell them to first “pray about it.”

“The Lord has helped me through so much,” she said. “He is the only one that can help you through this. If it had not been for Him, I would not be able to even talk right now. I would’ve gone into the house, closed the door and pulled the covers over my head but that’s not the type of person that I am. I try to be a fighter and do as much as I can and enjoy life. I like people and I enjoy traveling and doing other things.”

Bumbrey said she is cancer free now.

Bumbrey is a native of Opelika but said both parents are from Selma.

Bumbrey is also a member of the Selma Chapter of The Links, Inc. which has an event, Links in Pink, coming up on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. to noon. The event offers free exams and information about breast cancer.

Bumbrey said the event is important to her.

“It helps us realize that so many of us have survived but there are also people who have not,” she said. “Many of us have family members who have had cancer and we are trying to make everyone aware of the disease and so many of us wish we could eradicate.”