It was five years ago this month when Janet Waggoner was told she had breast cancer.
As a paralegal in the office of Checkett & Pauly, P.C., in Carthage, Janet said she was not alone. Not only had Attorney Mariann Morgan gone through her first diagnosis the previous summer, but Janet's friend and co-worker at the time, Linda Houck, had just started her battle against breast cancer too.
Janet and Tom Waggoner have been married for 31 years this year, and during this difficult time, Janet said Tom was “her rock.” But, to face the breast cancer battle with someone also going through the same thing (with the same doctors) meant the world to her.
“I couldn't of gotten through this without her,” Janet said of her friend Linda. “There's no way you can know what the other person is going through. Yes, your family and friends support and love you, but there's no way they could understand completely what I felt and was going through.”
Janet and Linda had known each other and even played golf together, but when they started facing breast cancer together the friendship became an indestructible bond. The first year they were diagnosed, they participated in the Race for Hope in Joplin, an event with the Breast Cancer Association that focuses on specifically breast cancer survivors whereas the Relay for Life encompasses all cancer survivors.
“We plan to do it every year together,” Janet said. “We walk in the event then we spend the day together. We go out to eat, go shopping, just something together. It's our time, and nothing gets in the way of that.”