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2 | PAINT IT ALL PINK | 2016

THE LOCALS By Graham Dudley Brownwood Bulletin

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f there’s one thing that Brownwood residents and breast cancer survivors Norlene Gleaton and Donna Burleson want women to learn from their experience, it’s this: get a mammogram every year. “I am a firm believer in routine mammograms,” Gleaton said. “Don’t skip them. Some people think, ‘I feel fine.’ I felt fine when I was diagnosed. I felt totally fine. Had no earthly idea. I did them routinely every year, and I think that’s what saved my life.” “There are women that don’t get mammograms, and they get cancer and it’s really

it all

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Circle of

You just have to do the best you can.” Gleaton was diagnosed with triple-negative, stage 3 breast cancer in January 2013. She had an allergic reaction to chemotherapy in June 2013 that left her in a coma for nearly two months. “My children were told to get my affairs in order,” Gleaton said, “that I would not survive. God had a different plan.” After 35 treatments of radiation in Brownwood and chemotherapy in Dallas, Gleaton was declared cancer-free. Burleson’s experience began in 2007 with a routine mammogram. Her doctor called her back and said they had to redo it. That second, magnified mammogram turned into SURVIVORS, 6

SURVIVORS

GRAHAM DUDLEY | BULLETIN PHOTO

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women don’t need to have advanced,” Burleson added. mammograms before the age of “It’s a shame, because it can 50. I was diagnosed before the be caught early. Mine was age of 50, and everybody else caught really early.” in our group, other than NorBurleson mentioned prolene … was diagnosed before grams like the Laura W. Bush the age of 40.” Institute for “We just support each other The group BurleWomen’s Health, and try to keep each other son referred to is which helps provide free breast encouraged. Some days, results the Brown County cancer screenare good. Some days results are Circle of Survivors, ings to women in not good. You just have to do the or the “Pink Sisters,” as Gleaton called need. No matter best you can.” them. The support one’s income, Norlene Gleaton, breast cancer survivor group, made up Burleson said, of Brown County good health was breast cancer survivors, meets too important to skip the once a month for fellowship yearly mammogram. She had and story-swapping. strong feelings about sug“We just support each other gestions that women should and try to keep each other wait until age 50 to begin yearly mammograms. encouraged,” Gleaton said. “Some days, results are good. “It’s so irritating,” she said, Some days results are not good. “to hear them in the news say

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