FERNADINA BEACH, FL -- The kids call her "the lunch lady" and they’re peppy about it. When I arrived at Emma Love Hardee Elementary in Fernandina Beach I found the kids cheering and the staff wearing pink. I suppose you could call it EDNA DAY.
Edna McDaniel says Buddy Check 12 saved her life. Her husband says, "I’m grateful for Buddy Check 12 because that’s what got her doing it."
Edna did a self exam and found a lump in her breast. She says it felt like a frozen pea. She did the right thing and went to the doctor. In her view a self exam was critical because her mammogram turned up nothing wrong. If she’d waited another year from the next mammogram, she says, "It may have been all over my body because it was aggressive."
So back to the cheering kids, they know Ms. Edna has fought her cancer and they were ready to celebrate with her. Her fellow cafeteria workers made a pretty pink and white cake and a bunch of cookies. The students gobbled up their share but they also seemed sincerely happy Ms. Edna would still be there every day to smile and greet them. (In a vote her pizza and chicken fingers tied as the best!)
Principal Dr. Eric Larsen came himself to show support. He says even when Edna lost her hair she kept coming to work. The principal and several teachers have had family members affected by cancer and they understand how important the issue is.
And speaking of support! Edna says, "When I went bald he shaved his head." She’s talking about her husband who wanted to be bald like his sweetheart when she went through chemo. They’ve been married 37 years and he says, "I don’t know what I’d do without her."
EDNA DAY is just a reminder to us all about the stark contrast between catching breast cancer early and letting it go wild inside you. Edna did such an efficient job getting to the doctor that 23 lymph nodes tested were negative for cancer. She truly has much to celebrate.
However, women, if you don’t check you are running the risk of cancer spreading to your bones or your brain or your lungs. You wouldn’t let a monster loose in your house, would you? Then don’t toy with breast cancer. Catch it early. Nip it in the bud. Do what Edna did.
Buddy Check 12 has saved more than 155 local women. It’s easy to do. Just get a buddy, your mom or someone you want to stay alive. Put our free stickers on your calendar on every 12th. Then on Buddy Check Day, the 12th, remind her to do a self exam. Also, get your mammograms and see a doctor for check-ups.
To make things even easier for you we’ll mail you as many Buddy Check 12 kits FOR FREE as you need. Just call our partner, Baptist Health, at 202-CARE. A person will answer your call to take the addresses.
Every 12th of the month I’ll continue to air Buddy Check 12 success stories so we can all see how encouraging the news is about finding breast cancer early.
So hooray for Edna! Thanks so much for sharing your story.
First Coast News