Queens of Pink with breast cancer patient Corky Craft. From left, Toni Wilcox, Kaley Willis, Carol Ware, Corky Craft, Arlene Long, Kristyn Boswell, Kelsey Breaux and Joyce Bennett. In front are Linley Wilcox and Chloe Landry.
By Kaley Willis
SULPHUR, Louisiana, U.S.A. – It’s October, that time of year when crisp, brown leaves tumble to the ground, children dress up in their scariest costumes to beg for a sugar rush and breast cancer awareness is buzzing through the air all over the country.
Citizens around the nation are doing their part for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. High school football teams are wearing pink on Friday nights, people of all ages are participating in walks to raise awareness, and here in Louisiana, the Queen of Pink organization is busier than ever.
Queen of Pink is made up of women of all ages who join forces to raise awareness and money for breast cancer patients. Every month, a donation is made by the “queens” to a woman battling the disease to help her with expenses of treatment and everyday struggles.
For the month of October, we picked a very special woman, Corky Craft of Lake Charles. The Queens of Pink gave her a check for $500 at the Ragley Heritage and Timber Festival on Oct. 20.
Craft, who was diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer just two months before, has not been totally affected by everything yet.
“I start chemotherapy for the first time next week, but it is just for prevention since the cancer hasn’t spread to my lymph nodes,” she said. “I’ve already had a surgery, but I didn't have a mastectomy, I had a lumpectomy. Other than just being very sore, I haven't had to alter anything in my life just yet.”
As the director of education at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital and a longtime employee of McNeese State University’s nursing department the diagnosis came as a big surprise to Craft, a mother of three.
“I was kind of shocked and just really surprised to learn that I have cancer. I’ve never had any cysts or anything like that. I remember that I had great-grandmothers who had it, but nobody else in the family had breast cancer, or any type for that matter.”
Despite this, Craft remains a hardworking woman who is optimistic in the face of misfortune.
“I’m really positive. I have a wonderful surgeon and a wonderful oncologist. I’m so glad that this treatment is just for prevention. I’m happy I’m going to live a healthier lifestyle.”
One thing is certain: Craft is an inspirational woman. She describes her concerns and hopes for the future to be simply for this to not reoccur.
The Queens of Pink hope to be able to help many more women like her through their battles, and that one day, a cure is found.
“I am just thrilled that Queen of Pink selected me and I hope that I can help out next year and continue to be a supporter of them. I am going to encourage everyone I know to get a mammogram every year,” said Craft.