By Kristin Finney
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Cindy Vees’ story begins in November of 2008. Her parents, Elmer and June Spear, were already living in Madison. It was around this time that Cindy began visiting Madison and began volunteering at the Madison County Chamber of Commerce. Vees is the mother of six children, ranging from 9-21 years old. She decided to move her family permanently to Madison on July 1, 2009.
Nine days after moving to Madison Vees was diagnosted with Stage Two Breast Cancer. She explained, “I had a routine mammogram in October 2008 and results required an ultrasound. During the ultrasound a spot was detected that had not shown up on the mammogram. I was told to go back for a follow-up ultrasound six months later. In June 2009, I went back for the follow-up when the spot that had previously been seen had grown one millimeter larger since the ultrasound six months prior. My specialist did a biopsy on the spot, which came back pre-cancerous, had a partial mastectomy, which brought back the result that I did indeed have cancer. I was scheduled immediately for a bilateral mastectomy and lymph node biopsy. Cancer was found in my lymph nodes as well.
“I will never forget the day I was diagnosed, the doctor even seemed surprised. When I found out the emotions, thoughts and confusion raged… Why me, what about my kids, what am I going to do. Then reality quickly set in and solid decision making had to kick in.”
Having recently moved, there was still much to be done at her new home. This was accomplished thanks to the help of many people. “My children and friends from Mount Olive Baptist Church helped my daughter move us here and provided so much that was needed while I recovered from surgery.”
Cindy had to undergo 16 rounds of chemotheropy between December 2009 until April 2010.
When asked about someone who went above and beyond to help her, Vees stated, “I didn’t begin chemo until December 2009, it was then that an angel on earth, Cheryl Abercrombie, who worked at the Mailroom next door to the Chamber, adopted me and was my chauffer to chemo in Tallahassee. She cooked meals and helped me with my children, and has become the dearest friend anyone could ever have. She is my biggest cheerleader and without her, I really do not know how I would have made it through. People I didn’t even know would come in the chamber bringing food, encouraging words and comfort to me. Teachers and staff from Corinth Christian Academy in Jasper where my children attended school provided meals, and travel help – what a blessing they all were. Ted Ensminger who directed the Chamber at the time, as well as the Board of directors were kind and patient as I received my treatments. My parents, June and Elmer Spear, have helped me beyond description and I am so very grateful for them and all they have done for me as well.”
She also praised the 4H Saddles and Spurs club and the Perry and Madison Chambers, both of which held fund raisers to help with her expensive medical bills, “which were huge, having a $10,000 deductible each year.” She also stated, “There are so many people I haven’t mentioned that I am so grateful for who helped me in the battle against cancer.”
Relay for Life has played a special part in Cindy’s life, she recalled, “In May of 2009, I went to my first Relay for Life – I had never experienced it before. When I got home that evening, I found out that a childhood friend of mine had died while I was walking the laps that night. Little did I know that one year later I would be walking again, this time as a survivor and bald from chemo treatments. This year will be my third Relay for Life, now with hair, one year to the day from my last chemo treatment. I am so grateful for a clean bill of health, which I received on January 14, 2011.”