On the eve of the kickoff of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, let's revisit a family with a very special tie to the event.
One year ago, we visited the West family home in west Little Rock.
A flurry of pink covered the room, Merideth West’s bed, as she and her sister Margo were prepping team Captain Komen and the Pink Tough Tutus for the Race for the Cure.
"I'm just glad that I'm racing for my mommy and raising money for breast cancer,” said then 9-year-old, Margo.
Back then, Debbie had just started chemo for breast cancer.
"I thought maybe it was a spider bite, but it wasn't quite a spider bite,” she told us last October about how she discovered the cancer.
Fast forward, Saturday is race day once again. So we decided to check in with the West girls, to see how they’ve been doing and how they plan to participate this year.
"I don't think it's Captain Komen and the Pink Tough Tutus without tutus,” said Margo.
She is one of the bubbliest girls imaginable.
Only this year, the race will have another runner, and therefore needs another tutu.
"We are through it, and it's going to be OK,” said Debbie, because after almost a year of chemotherapy, she is cancer-free. "Last year, when we did this interview, I was wearing a long blonde wig that looked like my hair. So noone knew that I lost my hair. I pulled it off for a while. Then I decided to literally pull the wig off and be myself. It was really scary walking outside, letting people know that I was sick."
Her family has noted the change in her demeanor.
"She has a different personality, like she's more energetic almost. Less worn down, almost less stressed because now she knows this big weight is off her shoulders,” said Merideth, who tells us it was hard to watch her mom be sick and tired.
Debbie even looks different. Her hair came back dark. But they don't seem to mind.
"Even if she doesn't have any makeup on or she doesn't have anything to do, or she just goes to school in her pajamas, I don't care. I think she's pretty anywhere,” Margo chimed in.
The West girls, after surviving a tough year, are turning their attention to others battling the disease.
"We are doing this for those families, in honor of those mothers, daughters, sisters, that have passed on, but their spirit lives. That is why we have Komen. That is why we race,” Debbie tsaid.
The West girls have a bit of advice for other families fighting cancer.
"Sometimes you lose hope and sometimes you believe, and you have to believe or else it won't work. God will help you through it,” Margo said.
The Wests are thankful for good friends and their faith for helping them get through.
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