Riverview resident Debbie Morey is spreading an important message to women.
"Get your mammograms; don't be lax."
It's a lesson Morey learned the hard way.
"I hadn't kept up with my mammograms," she admitted.
Then one day, while in the shower, Morey felt a lump in her breast.
"I didn't feel it the day before," she said. "It was huge. For it to have grown so fast [is unbelievable]."
She is now undergoing treatment with an experimental drug for stage 4 breast cancer.
Morey is no stranger to adversity.
Before her breast cancer diagnosis, Morey’s 5-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. The little girl is now in remission.
Morey and her husband, Jim, have two other children. One serves in the Navy and the other has Down syndrome and needs 24-hour care at home.
Each year, Music Showcase in Brandon selects a breast cancer patient to help during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Morey's friend, Nikole Whitehead, nominated Morey for this year's honor, noting that, despite the challenges she faces, Morey somehow manages to remain positive. In fact, Morey spends her spare time sewing quilts to donate to the children’s cancer center at St. Joseph’s Hospital where her daughter received treatment.
As the 2012 Music Showcase recipient, Morey had received the proceeds from several events held throughout the month.
Morey said at the time she simply doesn't have time to be sick. She has two children who depend on her.
"They're an amazing family. They're certainly worth the reward," said Whitehead. "They've been through so much."
Morey said she was overwhelmed by the largesse of the community.
"It feels like a big hug," Morey said, about her selection to receive funds, which, as of Oct. 20, 2012 amounted to just under $1,300.
Morey said the funds would help offset her driving expenses, going to doctors and to treatments. She added that it came at a great time, with the new year starting for her health coverage starting, which included a $1,000 deductible.
"We didn't think we would go through that much [money]," she said.
Throughout October 2012, Music Showcase, at 402 Oakfield Drive in Brandon, sold cookies, cupcakes, pink flower pens and ribbon cards to support Morey. The music store also invited residents to donate gift cards from stores and restaurants to Morey. Businesses were asked to donate services like lawn maintenance and cleaning.
For information about Music Showcase, and its events, call 813-685-5998 or email email@example.com.
Editor's note: This story originally ran in October 2012. We're putting it in the spotlight again to highlight the accomplishments one person can make.