2/12/03 - Wellness Program Raises Breast Cancer Awareness



Wellness Program Raises Breast Cancer Awareness
By: Wendy Ray

(Sikeston, MO)--Teachers in the Sikeston Public School District don't have to go far for breast cancer education and awareness.

Sikeston school nurses and teachers have put together their own Buddy Check program. It's helping survivors of the disease and women who have never even had breast cancer!
A classroom of junior high students greets art teacher Beth Butcher everyday. She's got a lot on the table, and it's not just teaching kids. Butcher's been battling breast cancer since May of 2000. "I thought it was a fibroid like cyst," Butcher says. "It wasn't like the hard knot they tell you to look for in breast cancer awareness things." At one point doctors thought they had the cancer, but it came back. Butcher's on her fifth type of chemotherapy. "This stuff is either going to hit you or someone you love and we all need to be more involved in it," she says.

And school nurse Nikki Vaught wanted the women she worked with to be more involved with breast cancer awareness, so she came up with a plan. "We have buddy partners, that we try to remind them to do self exams and to get mammograms every year," Vaught says. They're small steps in getting the program off the ground, but they're a big deal to the women battling the disease. "I happen to have a lot of blessings in my life," Butcher says. "I have a great group of friends at work, at church and I have my family."

Butcher's prognosis is good. Doctors gave her positive news at her last check-up.