JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Let's start with the heart and soul of this story.
Paula Liggins says she's been married to her teenage sweetheart for more than three decades now.
Her husband, Jonathan, a navy veteran, gets tears in his eyes when he talks about his wife's fight. "It was tough. It was really tough," he says.
"At one point, I was telling him 'I don't want to do this anymore,'" Paula says. But he kept her going to treatments and staying positive.
Shawn, their son, says, "I just want my mom to know that I'm really proud of her."
So now they're sporting t-shirts that say, "No one in this family fights alone."
Paula says her faith in God helped pull her through, as well.
Paula did Buddy Check 12. She found her own breast cancer. She says, "It was hard," like a marble.
If the story stopped here, that would be a victory. Paula saved her own life.
"I'm cancer free. I am!" Paula likes to say.
But she realized she could be a powerful voice to other women. She wanted to share Buddy Check at a women's conference in New Jersey.
She ordered the free Buddy Check kits and packed them up for her flight up north.
Paula inspired the women to check. And from that, at least four women, she says, are now breast cancer survivors.
The women made signs to show how glad they are that Buddy Check has come to New Jersey.
Paula, with her vibrant smile and cheerful voice, says, "Teach your daughters how to do self exams for themselves, so they can save their lives and save others."
And the feeling of saving five lives -- her own plus her New Jersey buddies-- is a great one. "I love it! I love it!" Paula says.
You can order free Buddy Check kits with the waterproof reminder card for your shower. The card shows how to do a self exam, and it's that friendly reminder that's saved so many lives.
And have you signed up yet for our new Buddy Bus, the mobile mammography unit from the cancer specialists at Baptist/MD Anderson?
The Buddy Bus makes it easy and quick to get a mammogram. The Buddy Bus will come to your group or school or office or church. You need at least 8 women to sign up in advance for half a day; 20 for an entire day.
To sign up go to baptistjax.com/buddy
If Buddy Check helped you find your breast cancer, First Coast News anchor Jeannie Blaylock would love to hear from you. Her email is: email@example.com