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"It Wasn't a Lump," Says Our Buddy Check Survivor

5:32 PM, Mar 12, 2004   |    comments
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By Jeannie Blaylock First Coast News CLAY COUNTY, FL -- Betty Jo Shelley is our latest Buddy Check 12 success story. She's a nurse at Thunderbolt Elementary in Clay County. The key to this story is…she didn't find a lump! She did Buddy Check fairly faithfully and was aware to keep an eye out for something different. She found it. This last April she was on her treadmill exercising and she noticed a wet spot on her sports bra. There was a yellowish discharge with a bloodish tinge. She went to one doctor who pretty much tried to tell her not to worry. But, being a nurse and a smart lady, she went to another doctor and a biopsy showed it was cancer. The doctor told her, "Betty Jo, i have good news and bad news." The bad news it was indeed cancer. The good news was she caught it early. Her husband says Betty Jo was a trooper during chemo. She barely missed any work. Now her friends and fellow workers at Thunderbolt say she is their inspiration. She goes around the school and reminds everyone to check on the 12th. Betty Jo's mother's sister and her father's sister both had breast cancer. But she says she thought her chances of getting it, even though it was in her family, were about zilch. In the photo…you see Betty Jo with Alex, one of the special needs children she helps during her workday. Her passion is for kids who have profound disabilities. Alex is tube fed through his stomach. Betty Jo says she knows he is calm and relaxed when she's around. She can sense their special bond. The kids are so important to Betty Jo that when she was diagnosed one of her first thoughts was panic. She thought, "But what about my kids? Who's going to take care of my kids?" Betty Jo's daughter, Jennifer, offered lots of support. She reminded her Mom of her tremendous faith in God and Betty Jo says, after her toughest struggles, she thought about that famous poem, "Footprints," and realized "it was God who carried me through." First Coast news anchor Jeannie Blaylock says Betty Jo's story is important because it reminds women to be careful and report anything out of the usual to their doctors. More than 140 women have told Jeannie that Buddy Check 12 has saved their lives. And most have reported lumps. Betty Jo's story shouldn't scare women, though. Many times a discharge has no link to cancer at all. Jeannie asked Betty Jo is she had any message to women who don't do Buddy Check 12 every month. Betty Jo says, "They should be ashamed. It's their responsibility to check. Baptist Medical Center is our Buddy Check 12 partner. You can call for free Buddy Check 12 kits. Just call 904-202-care and you will receive Buddy check 12 kits in the mail for free. You can put the reminder stickers on your calendar every 12th of the month. Get a buddy and make sure you do your self exams, get your mammogram and have regular doctor check –ups. Betty Jo is proof doing Buddy Check 12 saves lives. Now she's enjoying being a Grandma and, of course, taking care Of "my special kids" at school. Congratulations to Betty Jo!! Now, women, make sure you're checking, too.

First Coast News

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