CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - This week WBTV is kicking off a week of powerful stories from women in our community. All are strangers, bonded through a disease that impacts one in eight females, one in one thousand men.
I recently spoke with a mother-daughter duo who have quite a story.
Mary Bryan Smith says the day she found out she was pregnant, she also found out she had a lump in her breast.
She was only 31 years old. The lump was benign, but large. It put her in a study where she’d be watched closely.
Twelve years later, an MRI found cancer.
"The night I was diagnosed, I left the house in my car and went to the Harris Teeter parking lot,” she said. “I cried my eyes out. Called my parents because I didn't want to wake the children. And my biggest fear was how I was going tell the children?"
Then 12-year-old Elizabeth Anne remembers every single bit of that moment...
“We all sat down in the living room and mom said, I mean she pretty much just said, 'I'm going to be okay. But I have breast cancer.'"
Elizabeth Anne thought her mom was going to die.
Instead of staying scared, Elizabeth Anne coped with her mom's cancer by taking all the dishelved medical paperwork and notices, and got her mom organized.
“I'll never forget when I handed it over to my 12-year-old daughter and she said, 'I'll need a notebook and a three hole punch and then I've got it from here,’” says Mary Bryan. “She was wise beyond her years.”
Elizabeth Anne also wrote famous people to ask for donations to find a cure, planned a party, got newspaper coverage, raised tens of thousands of dollars and took all comments from her mom's CaringBridge site and bound them together in a book.
“She was such an inspiration for me,” Mary Bryan said. “To see just see how she handled everything at such a young age."
Today, Mary Bryan is doing well, and Elizabeth Anne is at Clemson studying nursing. They'll both be at Komen Charlotte Race for the Cure next weekend on October 6th, cheering on life, and fighting for all warriors.
If you’d like to join us in the fight against breast cancer, sign up for our WBTV News #TeamMolly. We’d love to have you!
Go to www.wbtv.com/KomenCLT.