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'I thought, my God!' This Jacksonville woman did one thing to avoid chemotherapy

Sisters share their very different decisions about their breast cancer journeys.

JACKSONVILLE, Florida — Pat Richardson is the older sister, but at age 73, she looks incredible.

Her younger sister Edith Brooks says Pat is her "Shero," but Edith is perhaps the more heroic in this story of two beautiful sisters and their breast cancer.

Pat, a former Miss Senior Jacksonville, admits in the past that she skipped her mammograms every so often.

Edith, however, was faithful to her mammogram schedule, and it paid off.

Credit: Edith Brooks

Edith is a staff nurse at Baptist on Med-Surg. She went to get her mammogram and was diagnosed with early breast cancer.

"I thought, 'My God, the mammogram picked it up,'" she recalled. "There's no way for me to. I didn't feel it. My surgeon didn't feel it. So it was amazing."

Her physician at Baptist, Dr. Jennifer Crozier, Hermatologist/Oncologist, says, "The best news for her is she caught this at a time before she needed chemotherapy." 

Edith says, "I totally avoided sitting in that chemotherapy chair, which is awesomely wonderful." 

Dr. Crozier says Edith's breast cancer was an early Stage 2. 

Credit: First Coast News

She points out that mammograms can also find precancers. "We can find things that are actually just one millimeter," Dr. Crozier says. That would be one-tenth the size of a pencil eraser. 

Dr. Crozier explains that precancers are still isolated in the milk ducts, not out invading the rest of your body. 

A mammogram can give you an opportunity to just have "a bump in the road for a small period of time," rather than a long battle.

The latter is what happened to Edith's sister, Pat.

Credit: Pat Richardson

Pat fought back tears remembering the diagnosis, "And when I got that call, I'll never forget, when I got that call..."  

She had Stage 4 breast cancer and struggled through 10 rounds of chemotherapy.

"I cannot stress enough, 'Please go get your mammograms,'" she says.

Credit: First Coast News

First Coast News Anchor, Jeannie Blaylock, says meeting these two sisters fires up her determination even more to finish the fundraising for the Buddy Bus.

As Edith says, a mammogram "saved my life." Yet less than 50 percent of women now get regular mammograms  

The Buddy Bus would be a mobile mammography unit for six local counties, including Duval. It's a joint project of First Coast News and Baptist/MD Anderson. 

Credit: First Coast News and Baptist/MD Anderson

It costs $1 million dollars to purchase the bus. In 2018, about half that money was raised. Now the push is beginning again to raise the remainder of the funds to buy the Buddy Bus. 

Email Jeannie if your group or business can do a fundraiser. Jeannie would love to come to your location and put your group on TV.  Just email her:  jblaylock@firstcoastnews.com 

This is a non-profit project. If you can donate, please contact Jeannie.