6 | PAINT IT ALL PINK | 2016
GRAHAM DUDLEY | BULLETIN PHOTO
SURVIVORS CONTINUED FROM 2
a sonogram, which turned into a biopsy when the doctors found something. Turns out, Burleson had a pea-sized lump in her breast. “From that point on, it was just go for this testing, and this testing, and that testing,” Burleson said. “I just wanted the monster out of me.” Her tumor was removed later in 2007. “If it wasn’t for that mammogram, it could have gotten bigger and it could have spread,” Burleson said. “I was lucky it didn’t spread to my lymph nodes, or anything like that. I was just really lucky.” Each October, the Brownwood area recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month wth shirts, decorations and even the yearly Pink Out football game. Both Gleaton and Burleson said the Brownwood community had been incredibly supportive throughout their experience. Gleaton said that, with breast cancer, women need as much support as possible. She praised her friends, family and colleagues for helping her through her darkest days. “I have been well cared for in this community,” Gleaton said. “The Brownwood community
has absolutely — my school family backed me 100 percent, took care of me, fundraised for me. My church family, the Early Church of Christ, absolutely have been the most supportive group of folks ever.” Gleaton recalled days when her church friends would visit her three times daily, bringing her food and checking on her. “You need everybody that you can have in your corner,” she said. For Gleaton, it was her family and her church. For Burleson, it was her husband. Even as she recounted her trials, she wore a bright pink T-shirt reading, ‘My husband promised to love me in sickness and in health, and he kept that promise.’ Both women said having cancer has changed their outlook on life. “Little things I don’t fret about any more,” Burleson said. “I used to be such a perfectionist.” “Every day that I get up, I try to find something good,” Gleaton added. “It’s not that every day is perfect, because it’s not. But every day you wake up, you try to find something good.” They are thankful, they said, to be here to share their stories and to remind women that a yearly mammogram can make all the difference.