PINK UP: Buddy check saves Cape Girardeau woman's life

PINK UP: Buddy check saves Cape Girardeau woman's life

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - People come into our lives all of the time.

Some go and some stay, but there is a reason for them all.

Trish Brewer, a Cape Girardeau resident and breast cancer survivor, knows that all too well.

"My best buddy saved my life," Brewer said.

Brewer says she wouldn't be here today if it was for her friend Rochelle Kinder.

In 2006, the two became close friends when Brewer became a private nurse for Kinder's son who had cerebral palsy.

"Our lives were so parallel," Brewer explained. "We were both around the same age. We both come from large families, both have special needs sons, the same age. We just had so much in common to the point that it was just like where have you been all my life."

Little did they know, in 2012 their bond was about to get even tighter.

"[Rochelle] was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2012," Brewer said. "I helped see her through her chemo through her surgeries."

Brewer said it was an eye-opening experience.

"It was always in the back of my mind Rochelle is going to show me how to live or she's going to show me how to die," Brewer said.

In this case, it was how to live.

Ironically, a little more than a year later, Brewer was diagnosed with the ugly C.

"When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I had stage 3 breast cancer," Brewer said. "I was a dead woman walking and I didn't even realize it."

The only reason she found out was because Kinder.

"She started getting on her soapbox, 'Trish you have to get a mammogram you got have a mammogram.' and I'm like Rochelle this is your deal not mine, but she was so insistent I said Rochelle, 'I don't have time, I don't have the money. I got things to do.'"

However, Kinder was so insistent they found a way to get Brewer a mammogram.

"Rochelle investigating and on her soapbox she was like Trish, 'I found a program that'll pay for you to have a mammogram and there we go. It helped. It saved my life."

The program is called Dig For Life, sponsored by Saint Francis Medical Center and Southeast Missouri State University.

It provides free screenings to women who might not be able to afford a mammogram, like Brewer.

"Had Rochelle not been so insistent that I get a mammogram I don't think I would be here today," Brewer said.

Rochelle was by Brewer's side the entire time, especially for those weak moments like when Brewer lost her breast.

As a woman, losing something like that isn't easy to go through, but thankfully, Brewer had someone who understands.

"She was just able to tell me Trish it doesn't matter, you are more than your breast, you are more than your body," Brewer explained.

A total of eight rounds of chemotherapy, 26 rounds of radiation and a mastectomy later, Brewer is a survivor.

"God just had his hand in it every step of the way," Brewer said. "Whoever knew that she would end up being my best friend, whoever knew that I would watch her, help her and then she would show me how to get through it."

It is a reality Brewer said she is still trying to wrap her head around.

"We're breast cancer survivor sisters," Brewer said. "We're moms with special needs children sisters. I was like Rochelle we are just sisters from another mother."

Brewer encourages all women to listen if a friend every pushes you to get tested for cancer or any other ailment.

She says it can be the difference between life and death.

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