Trials and triumph are two words that sum up the life of local resident Stephanie Thigpen. In 2011, she battled terminal cancer and defeated all odds that stood against her. Once again, Stephanie is facing another battle with cancer. She needs her faith and the help of the community to take down this giant. Thigpen is the wife of Bryant Thigpen, local realtor and baritone vocalist/manager of Christian artist LifeSong. She is the mother of Tripp (4) and Brynlee (16 months). She is the daughter of Donna Yeomans and Leonard Yeomans, deceased, and the daughter-in-law of Tommy and Marie Thigpen of Madison. She is the youngest sibling of seven. In 2011, Stephanie was diagnosed with fourth stage Glioblastoma Multiform and had a seven centimeter tumor located on her brain. At the time of the diagnosis, she was also seven months pregnant with her son, Tripp, and was later told she only had 12-14 months to live. Prior to surgery, the doctors explained they could only monitor one person at a time, and Thigpen told the doctors to monitor and take care of the baby first, and if she survived past that point, to then care for her. Thankfully, with the help of God and the expert medical staff at Shands in Gainesville, both Tripp and Stephanie have a story of triumph. Tripp was born weighing two pounds, 11 ounces.
After many months of physical therapy as well as cancer treatment, Stephanie made a full recovery. Tripp is a healthy young man who just started Pre-K. Over the last four years, Stephanie has been actively involved in the music ministry, having traveled with her family's group, the Yeomans Family, and works with her husband in nearly every aspect of LifeSong. She worked with the youth of a local church, leading the youth choir. In May, Stephanie served as the Survivor Chair for Relay for Life in Madison. Stephanie did something on May 13, 2014 doctors said would never happen and gave birth to their daughter, Brynlee. She has fought through and lived well past her former prognosis. This past Thursday, Aug. 27, Stephanie received the news the cancer had returned in the form of a four centimeter tumor while hearing the results of her MRI. Later that evening, family and friends gathered at Four Freedoms Park to pray over this family before Stephanie entered into surgery on Friday. "The Bible says when two or three are gathered in His name, He will be in the midst. I know it was a God thing that we gathered for prayer because after it was all said and done, we felt a peace about things and knew everything was going to be okay," said Bryant. "We're very thankful for everyone coming out and showing their love and support." Stephanie underwent brain surgery on Friday, August 28 to remove the tumor. The surgery was successful and the tumor was removed. However, with this type of cancer other cancer treatment(s) are a must. The Shands "neuro-oncologist staff" will meet to discuss Stephanie's next form of treatment. On top of the additional treatment(s) she will also have to spend several weeks in physical therapy. "Stephanie is a fighter and I know with God's help she can keep fighting," said Bryant.
"It's very tough on anybody to go through this. Her determination is strong and her faith is even stronger. We're praying that God will guide us through this process and bring healing to Stephanie." The family faces a steep hill in medical bills as well as mounting expenses in travels to Gainesville, lodging, food, etc. Bryant will be out of work for an unknown amount of time while caring for his wife. A medical expense fund has been set up at Madison County Community Bank. Donations can be made by depositing funds straight into the designated bank account. A "Go Fund Me" account has also been set up on gofundme.com. Any help that can be provided to this family would be greatly appreciated. "Above everything, we are so thankful for the love we have received from our friends and family and we ask that you keep us in your prayers during this difficult time," said Bryant.
If you would like to contribute to Stephanie's treatment, feel free to visit her Go Fund Me page here: http://www.gofundme.com/6n33gjsk
1. Stephanie and Bryant Thigpen