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Arkansas breast cancer survivor spreads hope, stresses importance of routine mammogram

Parham – a mother, grandmother and great grandmother – was diagnosed with stage three evasive breast cancer in April 2018.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Komen Central Arkansas More than Pink Walk is this weekend. Along with helping fund breast cancer research and patient care, it will also celebrate breast cancer survivors. 

Mary Parham is one of those. 

Parham – a mother, grandmother and great grandmother – was diagnosed with stage three evasive breast cancer in April 2018.

“Just packing and getting ready to go on vacation I had a routine mamogram and do it every year for 15 years, and all of the sudden this one didn't turn out right,” Parham said.

Following surgery, she started chemo at Carti Cancer Center of Little Rock. Dr. Diane Wilder is her oncologist.

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“It's as if no matter what she was hit with she took it and she became more and more joyful and spread that onto us,” Wilder said. “She was a light in our midst.”

A light even in the darkest of days. Parham’s husband died from coronary heart disease in June, just days after their 37th wedding anniversary.

“In the middle of all this he changed his address,” she said.

“How did I go on to continue my journey? One day at a time.”

With help from family, friends, and a strong faith in God, she completed chemo and entered remission in the weeks that followed.

“She is moving on, living, loving, giving and being a light and direction to us on how to handle hard things,” Dr. Wilder said.

Parham is now on a mission to spread hope, help others through their fight, and raise awareness about the importance of early detection.

“If I had gone on vacation and said ‘I’ve had a mammogram every year and I’m not going to worry about it this time,’ I would've been a year out.

And this story could've ended much differently.

“I feel like a butterfly,” Parham said. “I've gone through the cocoon I've gone through the metamorphosis and now I'm a beautiful butterfly I've gone through that hard time to that tough time and now I can fly I have my wings and I can fly and I can also encourage other women and talk to other women.”

Mary received financial assistance from Komen Arkansas during her cancer battle. You can help patients like her by joining in on the More than Pink Walk.

It starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 at the River Market Amphitheater. You can actually register on-site on Saturday from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.

Click here for more information.

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