Dianna Gal­loway says early de­tec­tion is key to sur­viv­ing can­cer

The Covington News - - Front page - DANIELLE EVER­SON deverson@cov­news.com

Breast can­cer sur­vivor Dianna Gal­loway said early de­tec­tion was the key to fight­ing and sur­viv­ing the ill­ness, which she and her mother were di­ag­nosed with.

The New­ton County School Sys­tem bus driver said 24 years ago, her mom Bev­erly Nel­son was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer and she passed away. She said af­ter her mom was di­ag­nosed, she de­cided to start hav­ing screen­ings and mam­mo­grams done for her­self.

In 2003, at the age of 39, Gal­loway found out she had breast can­cer. At the time, she had a 4-mon­thold daugh­ter and a 7-yearold son. Soon af­ter she was di­ag­nosed, she de­cided to get in­volved with help­ing to raise aware­ness about

breast can­cer and rais­ing money to help find a cure for the dis­ease.

“I was di­ag­nosed and I had to go have all these kind of surg­eries,” Gal­loway said. “I started do­ing Re­lay for Life af­ter I was di­ag­nosed and I’ve been in­volved in it ever since.”

Gal­loway said af­ter a few years of test­ing and surg­eries, she is now can­cer free. How­ever, that hasn’t stopped her from be­ing in­volved with events in the community that raised money for the cause. She con­tin­ues to in­spire oth­ers to keep fight­ing against the ill­ness.

Gal­loway is the team cap­tain for Big Wheel Driv­ers, which is a group of New­ton County school bus driv­ers who par­tic­i­pate in Re­lay for Life. The group has about 15 mem­bers and most of the bus driv­ers in the group have fam­ily mem­bers who have had breast can­cer. Gal­loway’s son Ken Gal­loway, who’s now 18, has also been ac­tive in the cause.

“I was a team cap­tain and my son was a team cap­tain for 4-H for a cou­ple of years and then he went on to the Re­lay for Life com­mit­tee,” she said. “I just give all that I can to try to help find a cure to help save other peo­ple.”

Gal­loway said she started get­ting tested for breast can­cer at the age of 23 and that a lot of doc­tors don’t rec­om­mend hav­ing mam­mo­grams un­til the age of 40. She said she was glad that she started hav­ing her test­ing done at an early age be­cause it al­lowed her to de­tect the dis­ease early. She rec­om­mended that other peo­ple would do the same.

“Make sure that you have your mam­mo­grams and keep up with them be­cause if I never started hav­ing mine when I did, I prob­a­bly would have never caught mine,” she said.

“If ev­ery­body can just look at me and see that I did sur­vive do­ing ev­ery­thing I had to go through, [I hope] that would just in­spire other peo­ple not to give up and to go ahead and continue fight­ing so that they will have many, many years left with their fam­ily too.”

Gal­loway said she hopes more peo­ple would get in­volved with Re­lay for Life and other or­ga­ni­za­tions to help find a cure for breast can­cer.

“Any­body who will be will­ing to get in­volved with Re­lay for Life will help,” she said. “Ev­ery bit of money that’s raised helps save lives and helps to­ward find­ing a cure some day.”

Danielle Ever­son /The Cov­ing­ton News

Gal­loway with her daugh­ter Ni­cole in front of a NCSS school bus. Gal­loway is a bus driver for New­ton County.

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