Cancer survivor honored on ACS Telethon ‘I found I was not alone in my fight’
Mary Ann Grant, a Red Hill resident, was honored April 8 by the American Cancer Society, as a Courage Award recipient, during the 38th annual ACS Telethon airing from Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe. The Courage Award honors both cancer survivors and those still fighting the disease.
Mary Ann’s story began in 2011, when her oldest son, Tyler was starting his senior year in high school. Grant had just celebrated her 40th birthday and was busy with her husband Eric and family when she discovered a small lump in her breast. She and her husband worked for small employers who did not offer insurance.
One night she saw on TV that assistance was available for women without insurance to have a mammogram. She quickly went to the American Cancer Society website. A mammogram and ultrasound performed in December 2011 revealed the lump was a fibroadenoma, a benign tumor. The radiologist referred her to a surgeon, who felt there was no reason to be concerned.
“We decided that since it was benign, that we would wait and see if it grew and possibly make a decision later to have it removed,” Grant said.
She called the doctor’s office and the receptionist convinced her to have a biopsy in the office. She was diagnosed with Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Triple Negative. Within a week she had port placement surgery and began chemotherapy.
Grant was told she had a 30 percent chance of responding to treatment.
Chemotherapy was long and grueling. Side effects were hair loss and nausea, severe bone pain, mouth sores and other wonderful reminders of the cancer.” She spent many days in bed. Radiation and two surgeries followed. On March 3, 2013, she celebrated being cancer free.
“My life changed and I am here to share it. I am blessed that I had the support of my family and friends, and that through my story I have felt such an outpouring of love and friendship,” Grant said. Through Sharing My journey, she has assisted the American Cancer Society in their Voices of Hope Program, a national speaker network. She credits the American Cancer Society for the mammogram that saved her life, the Look Good, Feel Better Program and the support she received from Relay for Life.
“I found that I was not alone in my fight,” Grant said.
She has also shared her journey on social media. “My journey is just starting and if tomorrow was my very last day here, I can promise you it would be #bestdayever,” Grant said.
The 24-hour telethon raised over $220,000 for the ACS and was available on channels 2 and 50 in the Lehigh Valley on the Service Electric Cable system. Portions of the program were broadcast on channel 69.4, WFMZ.