NC man driving cross country for breast cancer prevention

Updated: Jul. 6, 2017 at 5:24 PM EDT
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(Photo courtesy Rick Baker)
(Photo courtesy Rick Baker)
(Photo courtesy Rick Baker)
(Photo courtesy Rick Baker)
(Photo courtesy Rick Baker)
(Photo courtesy Rick Baker)

FORSYTH COUNTY, NC (Kelcey McClung/WBTV) - When Becky Baker was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2013, doctors told her she had three months to live.

She lived those three months - and then 37 more.

Becky passed away on Easter Sunday this year after fighting breast cancer for over three years.

Her husband, Rick Baker, lives in Clemmons, NC. He is about to embark on an 8,000-mile journey to honor her and spread awareness for the foundation he created in her name, The Becky Baker Foundation.

Self-funded by Rick, the foundation does not accept donations. He says his goal is simple: to provide free mammograms for the first 1,000 people to register on the foundation website. He pays the bill out of pocket.

"If I can just get two or three women to get a mammogram and be saved, then I know I've done something good," Rick said.

Rick said a friend recently tried to write the foundation a check for $5,000, but Rick insisted the money be split between Wake Forest Imaging Center and Forsyth Breast Cancer Center instead.

"I'm doing this all on my own," he said. "I'm doing it for my hero, Becky."

His late wife waited nine months after she first detected a lump to get a mammogram. By that point, it had already turned into Stage IV.

"I went through the guilt process," Rick said. "I should've known she was sick. But she didn't tell anybody. She figured it would go away."

Rick created the foundation with the hopes that it would encourage women to get a mammogram as soon as possible, rather than wait until detection comes too late.

He plans to publicize the foundation while he spreads Becky's ashes across the country. He'll drive up and down the east and west coasts, the midwest and back to Winston-Salem. Rick estimates the trip will take five to six weeks.

"Becky picked out fifteen special places she wanted her ashes to be spread," Rick said. "If I'm driving all that way, I'm going to spread the word about prevention as much as I can."

Designed to look like a race car, with the hashtag "#raceforprevention" on it, Rick hopes his attention-grabbing car will make people look up the hashtag and learn more about preventing breast cancer with early detection.

"If you're driving along and see this car that says 'prevent' all over it, my hope is you're going to get on your iPhone and look it up," Rick said. "I'm expecting thousands of hits over the course of my journey."

He also has brochures, fliers, pens, and even t-shirts to hand out about the foundation and its mission.

Rick leaves for his trip on July 27. His stops include towns on both the East Coast, West Coast, and Texas.

"I have to do this because what she did was unbelievable," Rick said. "Fighting that long... she's my hero. She did what I could never do."

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