HUNTINGTON — Whether you are battling something as small as a cold or as major as breast cancer, laughter is an important part of a treatment plan.
That’s why the St. Mary’s Breast Center brought Keith Matheny, a motivational entertainer, to the annual breast cancer survivor reunion luncheon, which took place Sunday at the St. Mary’s Center for Continuing Education.
Matheny, a Huntington resident and national speaker, donated his time, telling jokes and performing illusions that kept the crowd laughing, sometimes so hard they had tears in their eyes. In between his jokes, Matheny reminded the group to relish in every day they have.
“Laughing is very important,” said Anne Hammack, clinical manager at the Breast Center. “Cancer is something frightening, and it’s nice to just sometimes laugh. Just laugh and remember there are a lot of positive things in your day — just unwind and laugh.”
Hammack said the reunion luncheon is a time for survivors to take a step away from cancer and focus on themselves, their family and other loved ones. It’s a time to unwind and be together.
Guests also heard from a breast cancer survivor and St. Mary’s nurse Jinnie Knight, who reminded listeners they need to hold on to the little things that bring them joy, which can be found even in the darkest of times.
Knight’s story began on a trip to Florida to visit her best friend. They were asking each other hypothetical questions, and both decided if they ever had breast cancer, they would easily get double mastectomies. Then Knight’s friend asked when she had her last mammogram, and she got mad when Knight admitted she hadn’t taken the time to get one that year.
“She was always the friend with the sixth sense,” Knight said.
Knight entered the scary world of a breast cancer patient, making her way through with the support of her friends and her two children. Her Florida friend even video chatted during her diagnosis appointment, taking over asking questions when Knight herself was too overwhelmed.
Knight said she held on to the little moments that meant the world to her — the touch of her daughter’s hand in a trying time, a kind email, a handwritten treatment plan from her doctor.
She also learned to lean on others, going to St. Mary’s support group where the women in the group showed her their breasts and their scars.
“If showing my scars helps someone else, I will do it,” Knight said.
Dr. Benjamin Moosavi said finding support and sharing your story with others is crucial, whether it’s in support groups, with family and friends, or even online communities. He also added husbands find support in support group as well, which is also important.
The breast cancer support group meets at 6 p.m. the second Thursday of every month at the St. Mary’s Center for Continuing Education. Call 304-526-8221 for more information.
To schedule a screening mammogram at St. Mary’s, call 304-526-1492 or 304-526-8221.You may also go to www.womenneedmammograms.com to schedule your appointment or for more information about mammograms and breast cancer.
Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.