With grace and style, Champaign County women celebrated beating breast cancer and honored those who lost that battle at last week’s Fashions to a Tea.
The event featured Dr. Pamela Bucklew-Wilder, the first female surgeon to practice in Clark County and a breast cancer survivor.
“The most important message tonight is ‘get that mammogram,’” she said. “I didn’t feel a lump, and I probably would not have felt it because that’s the way the cancer presented for me. But if you don’t do a mammogram, you don’t get the option for treatment early on. It’s not just to save your breast, but to save your life. That’s what we’re here for. We want to save lives.”
Bucklew-Wilder learned she had breast cancer after a mammogram pointed out a small area that looked suspicious. A biopsy confirmed the diagnosis. She decided to have a mastectomy, which revealed the cancer was much larger than the mammogram showed. She decided to have a second mastectomy to remove the other breast, figuring it would just be a matter of time before cancer showed up there.
Afterward, she said, she had not thought about reconstructive surgery.
“My breasts don’t define me,” she said.
But she changed that opinion when she was showing quarter horses and the halter did not fit right.
“That’s when I decided to do reconstruction. Just to be able to show in halter,” she said.
Local breast cancer survivors modeled outfits from area businesses during the event.
Fashions to a Tea is part of the Passport to Wellness series of health seminars and family events presented by Mercy Memorial Hospital, the Champaign Family YMCA and the Champaign Health District. The Tea is an annual event organized by Breast Friends Forever of Champaign County.
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.