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Prevention Takes Action: Kathy’s Breast Cancer Journey

Kathy Springer is always on the move. As CEO of United Way of South Mississippi, a devoted volunteer for nonprofit and civic organizations, and a dedicated mom, wife, and friend, she only knows one speed – fast.

Kathy with her family

The day she was scheduled to receive her mammogram was a busy one, as usual. “It’s never a good time, but I went. I’m sure everyone thinks about rescheduling, but I ran in and ran out. Never in my wildest dreams did I think there was anything there because I couldn’t feel it,” she said. The next day, Kathy received a request to repeat the mammogram. Then she found out she had breast cancer.

“This is the sorority you never want to be in,” said Kathy, when asked about her diagnosis. “It was a complete surprise.”

The first thing Kathy asked her oncologist, Dr. Allison Wall, was “Am I going to die?”, to which Dr. Wall replied, “No, you’re not going to die. We’re going to take this step by step and work through it.”

Purpose powers her

“Honestly, I was not afraid. To this day I haven’t cried, nor have I asked, ‘why me?,’” Kathy said. “I truly believe that getting up in the morning and having purpose in your day is key to everything.” She hasn’t missed a day of work since being diagnosed and receiving treatment. She knows that this is not the case for everyone, and no two people have the same journey. She added, “This is not who I am…this is something that happened to me.”

Kathy’s family and her faith have helped her navigate the shock and see the upside of her diagnosis. “My work family and friends have been extremely supportive, and they know more about breast cancer than they ever wanted to know.”

Kathy after ringing the bell

Getting personal care

Kathy is grateful for her entire care team throughout her journey.

“I trust in my doctors,” she added. As for Dr. Wall, she said “For as many patients as she has, the care is extremely personal. When she is with you, she is tuned in and she knows everything going on. There’s nothing off the table that you can’t talk to her about. She is open, honest, and accessible.”

Kathy’s challenge to the community

“Schedule your mammogram today,” she said. “What they found on my mammogram was not there a year ago.”

Watch Kathy’s story

Mammograms are critical, and Memorial Health System offers options for people who may not be able to afford the screening, including through the Memorial Hospital Foundation. To learn more about Memorial’s breast cancer services, click the button below.

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