3 Breast Cancer Survivors with One Inspiring Message


If you watch “Good Morning America” every morning (like I do),  you’ve probably heard morning show anchor Robin Roberts say, “Make your mess your message!” It’s one of her favorite mantras. It was something her mother instilled in her since she was a child—to remember that there’s always a bigger picture.

Recently Baylor Medical Center at Garland honored three amazing women who I think embody Robin’s way of living. They are all breast cancer survivors, like Robin, who turned their diagnoses into a mission to help others.

But you don’t have to be diagnosed with breast cancer to learn something from how these brave women turned a cancer diagnosis into an opportunity to live with a greater purpose. Whatever you’re going through, even if it’s just a bad day, I hope these women’s stories inspire you to “Make Your Mess, Your Message!”

When the city of Garland decided to “pink out” their October 4th football game versus Rowell High School, Baylor Garland partnered in honoring these three amazing women who overcame breast cancer.

“Cancer? Nobody’s got time for that!”  

Marsha Johnson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. As a model she was devastated by the news, but because of her love for modeling, she founded Fashions for the Cure. This fashion show is a cancer awareness celebration where many of the models are cancer survivors.

For Marsha it is much more than being a survivor.

In 2012 she lost her grandson to leukemia. This year she has added a memory walk to the fashion show giving families an opportunity to honor those who have lost a loved one to cancer.

Fashions for the Cure also provides a platform for medical professionals to speak to an audience of survivors, their caregivers, family and friends on the issues that matter most of all, the importance of early detection of cancer, so that we are all proactive in caring not only for ourselves, but also for one another.

Life After Cancer: With New Life Comes New Hope

Lynda Dyer was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005.  After attending a six week breast cancer class at Baylor Garland, she found herself wanting more. She longed to have the camaraderie of a support group. In 2007, with help from Baylor Garland, Lynda founded New Life New Hope a breast cancer survivors group.

The mission of New Life New Hope is to offer support to one another in an open and trusting way so that feelings and information may be shared with compassion and understanding. Lynda and a board of directors, all whom are breast cancer survivors are a powerful group of ladies dedicated to supporting families faced with breast cancer.

Lynda’s commitment to breast cancer does not stop with her support group, she also serves as a hospital volunteer at Baylor Garland’s Breast Imaging Center and serves as patient advisor that visits cancer patients and their families at the hospital.

“Live each day as a gift from God. For the gift is the present.” -Lynda Dyer

Going to Bat to Teach Cancer a Lesson

Beloved educator, Melanie Parsons, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. Through her journey with six surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, she is now breast cancer survivor!

As an educator, she is an inspiration to students and teachers in the Garland School District.  Melanie, along with fellow educators, family and friends established “A Cure for a Teacher”, a team that has successfully raised more than $53,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Melanie’s journey through breast cancer has inspired Garland ISD employees, students, alumni and the community to work together to spread awareness and promote activities in the fight against breast cancer.

She is an avid Texas Rangers fan and was honored to win the Major League Baseball’s “Going to Bat Against Cancer” contest. She was also recognized as the Honorary Bat Girl at Rangers Ball Park on Mother’s Day in 2010. Melanie’s inspiration through survivorship? A heart of servitude, grace and love.

“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

About the author

Jennifer McDowell
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Jennifer is a public relations professional who assists the Baylor Scott & White Health team on numerous projects. Born in Tennessee, she came to the “Big D” by way of SMU. Prior to this gig, she was the associate producer of an award-winning syndicated medical news segment.

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3 Breast Cancer Survivors with One Inspiring Message