By Jeannie Blaylock
First Coast News
GREEN COVE SPRINGS, FL -- No doubt about it. Evelyn Herbert is spunky. Maybe even a bit saucy, in a good way. And it's that inner drive that pushed her to do Buddy Check 12 and disregard one doctor's advice.
Evelyn lives in Green Cove Springs. I met her at the Red Hat Society. She came rushing up to me and said, "I've been so anxious to tell you something. Buddy Check saved my life!" Turns out it all happened 9 years ago and now Evelyn's ready to tell the story.
You could say Evelyn was a pioneer in the fight against breast cancer. Back in the 1960's, when we didn't talk about this much, Evelyn says she was one of the first women in Jacksonville to get a mammogram. She remembers Lady Bird Johnson came to town and had a mammogram herself to demonstrate how important it was. Evelyn was in the same room, she says.
Then when we started Buddy Check 12 on TV Evelyn decided she'd do self exams, too. And she has been faithful to it for years. She says she always watches our stories on First Coast News. Then one day she found a lump in the shower. She says it felt like a jawbreaker up under her arm. She says, "I told my husband I'm going to call the doctor tomorrow."
The problem was, though, a doctor advised her that her mammogram didn't show anything bad so she should just wait six months. She basically told him to forget that idea and went to another doctor. Turns out she had stage 4 breast cancer. (Out of stages 1 through 4, the most advanced is 4.)
Evelyn says if she hadn't paid attention to herself it would have been curtains. In her words, "If I'd waited I'd be dead." She doesn't sugarcoat anything. In fact, she says if you're not doing Buddy Check, "I want to know why." There is no good reason, she says.
Evelyn says the chemo wasn't too fun. But she says, "People were praying for me from Florida to California." She says the prayer made a lot of difference. Now she tells everyone about Buddy Check 12.
The experience of fighting breast cancer has inspired Evelyn to help others now. She sews head scarves made of very soft fabric for women who lose their hair during chemotherapy. And she crochets dozens and dozens of soft, cuddly blankets for the Clay County Sheriff's office. The deputies give them to children in car accidents so they have something to hug. Plus, Evelyn churns out homemade pound cakes and red velvet cakes for families dealing with illnesses.
So it's a good thing the First Coast still has Evelyn around. Evelyn says thank goodness for Buddy Check 12.
Are you checking? Is your wife checking? How about your mom? We will send Buddy Check 12 kits to your family anywhere in the world for free. Just call our partner, Baptist Health, at 904-202-CARE. And every 12th of the month you can enjoy our Buddy Check 12 success stories on First Coast News, NBC 12 and ABC 25. You'll see women thriving because they've caught their cancer early.
To learn more about Buddy Check 12 and how you can fight breast cancer through early detection, visit the Buddy Check 12 page.
First Coast News