Cancer Survivors Story On Battling With The Deadly Disease

By: Jeff Allen Email
By: Jeff Allen Email

People will gather again Friday night in two Eastern Kentucky counties and walk all night long to raise money for the fight against cancer. One of those people walking knows all to well what it's like to battle the disease again and again.

Billie Booth says when she looks at a picture of her grandson, it makes her think of when her fight with cancer first began.

"When I think about how old Robert is, I think about how long I've had cancer," she said.

Robert was six weeks old when grandmother Billie found out she had stage three Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. She said she was feeling fine.

"I was feeling no ill effects. I still had this deadly thing going on in my body," she said.

After three weeks of intense chemotherapy, Billie kicked the cancer, but not for good. Three years later, it came back. She thought she was cured forever after a stem-cell transplant. But then just two years after that, it came back when Billie became only the second person to go through an experimental radiation treatment in Knoxville.

"A man from the company came to watch that so I was a pioneer," she said.

She's in remission and says she feels great today, but there's always that fear.

"Those thoughts creep in. You think, is this coming back," Billie said.

But she says support for Relay for Life events may someday get rid of those fears for good.

"I really think there will be a cure for it, but it's going to take everybody's efforts," Billie said.

Relay for Life events will get underway Friday night in Bell and Owsley Counties. More events are planned in several other Eastern Kentucky counties throughout the month of June.

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