MAN — Every October is designated at Breast Cancer Awareness Month and today, October 19, has been designated as Ellen Burgess Day in the Town of Man. The Town of Man and Mayor Jim Blevins declare Ellen Burgess Day to honor Burgess who is a 50-year survivor of breast cancer.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer 50 years ago in 1962. I was 39 years old,” Burgess said. “I had a lump in my breast and had it removed at St. Mary’s in Huntington. Back then there was no mammogram and little technology. I thank God every day for healing me. I had two children to raise Sara was 8-years-old and Gilman was 4-years-old.”
Burgess said she want people to know that there is hope after a breast cancer diagnosis.
“I just want to give people hope. But don’t wait until there is a lump. That is not good,” said Burgess. “Go to the doctor. Early detection is vital.”
Burgess recalled that she used to be embarrassed about having survived breast cancer.
“If you remember you done a story in the Logan Banner 15 years ago when I was a 35-year survivor and I was a little embarrassed,” said Burgess. “But after the story ran a lady called me with a tremble in her voice and said she had breast cancer and was going to just give up but she read the story and it gave her hope. So today, after 50 years, I am not embarrassed and want to help people and give them some hope.”
Burgess, now 89-years-old, continues to get checked often, and encourage women and men to take self-exams.
“Don’t wait six months to go to the doctor and have stage three cancer,” said Burgess.
Burgess worked until she was 82 years old at her store at Mt. Mart Village and was an English teacher in Logan County schools for over 25 years.
“You got to tell people there is hope and there are a lot of people in Logan County who are breast cancer survivors as well as me,” said Burgess. “I had my surgery in 1962 and was in the hospital for a week and today you would be out the next day. There’s a lot of new technology but the two key words are ‘don’t wait’ to see your doctor.
“God knew I had to raise my children,” said Burgess. “We have a small town in Man but they are a lot of loving and caring people where everybody knows everybody. Just last week the breast cancer walk raised over $3,000 to help other people who couldn’t afford a mammogram. I thank my maker every day.
Burgess said “with the Lord’s will,” she will be 90-years-old on June 14, 2013.