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The Carthage Press
  • Local team honors long-time cancer fighter

  • Normally, the Carthage version of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life features at least two teams from Leggett & Platt's corporate office.
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  • Normally, the Carthage version of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life features at least two teams from Leggett & Platt's corporate office.
    Normally, Libby Peck, a 12-year cancer survivor, is out front at Carthage's Relay for Life, helping organize the event, leading the survivor's walk and encouraging others when she didn't feel well enough to walk.
    A new normal will take over at this year's Relay for Life, slated for June 1 at Carthage's Central Park.
    Libby Peck died on Oct. 31, 2012 from inflamed breast cancer, leaving her husband, LeRoy Peck, and her family and friends to carry on the mission of ending cancer.
    Peck worked as an executive assistant at the Leggett & Platt corporate office.
    Libby's Liberators
    This year the organizers of the teams from Leggett & Platt decided to combine forces into one big team, called Libby's Liberators, in honor of their friend.
    She was a faithful Relayer, faithful friend and coworker, so this year means a lot,” said Sherry Lassiter, a friend and co-worker, at the Carthage Relay Survivor's dinner, held Friday, May 16, at the Carthage First Baptist Church. “Before, I had my own team and then Theresa and Kathy approached me about instead of having two Leggett teams, two Leggett corporate teams, about combining them into one, so my family joined the other one to make it one team just to honor Libby.”
    Libby's husband, LeRoy Peck, was at the 2013 Survivor's Dinner taking pictures and taking part in the event.
    Life interrupted
    LeRoy and LeRoy Peck  met in 1999 and had decided to get married when Libby started feeling odd. She talked about it at the 2010 Relay for Life Survivor's Dinner.
    “After being a divorced mother for many years and putting two through college, I was very surprised to find a new love in my life,” Peck said. “His name was LeRoy Peck and we had known each other for many years, but in 1998, he lost his wife to pancreatic cancer. We were all very good friends and then all of a sudden Leroy and I were in a whirlwind relationship. He lived in Springfield and I lived in Carthage and we kept I-44 hopping.”
    She said their grown children were happy when the two decided to tie the knot, then she started feeling odd.
    “I woke up one morning and I noticed that my bra was not fitting right,” Libby Peck said in 2010. “I really didn’t think to much about it except the next day it was even worse. How weird, one of my breasts was larger than the other one and it itched.
    “On the third morning I decided maybe I should call my doctor because I noticed my breast was very warm to touch. What in the world could this me. I called my doctor thinking this was mastitis and he could give me an anti-biotic and in a day or two I’d have this thing whipped. Boy was I ever wrong.”
    Page 2 of 2 - She said her doctor immediately recognized the problem could be bad and ordered an immediate mammogram, even accompanying her to see the mammogram for himself.
    “I had just had a mammogram in December and this was only July, so not to worry except why was he going with me?” Libby Peck said. “All of a sudden it made me very scared. The word cancer is very scary anyway. When they called for an ultrasound mammogram to get more detail, I became very frightened. As my doctor suspected, the test indicated that I had what they called inflammatory breast cancer. It can only be confirmed with a biopsy, which he arranged for the next morning.
    “The next morning? I couldn’t do that. I had to go to work, Leroy and I had a date for that night, I had a big shopping trip planned for the weekend, this couldn’t be happening to me. I was much to busy and much to much in love. But my doctor insisted and I knew from the look on his face that I didn’t have much choice and it was not good news.”
    Beating the odds
    The doctor gave her the bad news — stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer — six months to live.
    She managed to beat that prediction and the two went on to live happily for 12 years.
    LeRoy Peck said Libby was at her best when she was helping others, especially in the fight against cancer.
    “Libby was a special person and helped raise a lot of funds for Relay for Life,” LeRoy Peck said at the 2013 Survivor's Dinner. “Over the years she has talked hours and hours on the phone after someone else had been diagnosed with cancer trying to help and provide support for them. It was always her little niche that she could help somebody, that was when she was at her best.”
    He said he misses his wife and friend, and is doing what he can to honor her memory.
    “She did a fantastic job and I'm just trying to follow her,” LeRoy Peck said. “I read a little quote that said the best way to honor someone who has left far too soon is to pay it forward. So that's the easiest way to honor her. So many of these women here tonight, they've been in exactly the same shoes. When Libby and I got married, we asked for a year. We got 12, so we're very blessed and the Lord has really been kind to us.”

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