Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital Employees Join Fight Against Breast Cancer|
ARLINGTON, Texas — Tina Brackeen starts out her work day with meditation, exercise and then it’s off to work. Not many people know it, but Brackeen was diagnosed with breast cancer more than 10 years ago.
“I never wanted to appear sick, so I always tried to keep a positive attitude and go on with life as usual,” said Brackeen, a licensed clinical social worker at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital.
That’s why she is participating in the 20th annual Komen Greater Fort Worth Race for the Cure on April 14 at Ridgmar Mall. She’ll be joined by four other Texas Health Arlington Memorial employees, who plan to raise at least $2,000 for this year’s Race for the Cure.
Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of death in women living in the United States. According to the Texas Cancer Registry, 190 women in Tarrant County alone will lose their lives to breast cancer this year alone. And according to the American Cancer Society, more than 2.5 million Americans — including Brackeen — are breast cancer survivors.
“Factors that increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer include but are not limited to, family history, having your first child at 30 years of age or older, daily alcohol consumption and obesity,” said Kory Jones, M.D., a breast surgeon on the Texas Health Arlington Memorial medical staff. “Women 40 years and older are encouraged to get an annual mammogram, but if breast cancer runs in the family women should have their first mammogram no later than 35 years of age.”
Brackeen found out she had breast cancer in April 2001.
“My faith has definitely gotten me through this, and the most important part of my journey has been my fabulous family,” Brackeen said.
Having participated in multiple Race for the Cure events, Brackeen, her daughter and daughter-in-law also took part in last November’s Susan G. Komen 3-Day event. Participants walk 60 miles during a three-day period.
“When I finished the entire 60 miles, all I could say was, ‘Wow,’” she said.
Having had several friends deal with breast cancer, Brackeen said she walks for a passionate cause. “I don’t want my daughter or grandchildren to go through what I went through,” she said.
For the past 10 years, Brackeen’s cancer has been in remission, and she credits her sense of humor for getting her through the rough days.
“When I dressed myself for the day, I would say, ‘Hey just throw on your wig and you’re ready to go, Tina!’”
Brackeen said she felt fortunate to have a strong support group, including her family and coworkers.
“I definitely had my bad days, but I kept telling myself that they would pass,” she said. “In fact, I tell others fighting breast cancer to stay positive — that’s key.”
The first Komen Greater Fort Worth Race for the Cure took place in 1993 with 1,800 participants. Now the 5K race serves as one of the largest in the United States, and the Greater Fort Worth Affiliate uses 75 percent of the proceeds to fund cancer treatment and prevention projects for women in Tarrant, Parker, Johnson and Hood counties.
“Helping others as a licensed clinical social worker helps me put my battle against breast cancer into perspective,” Brackeen said. She dedicates herself to helping others cope with health-related setbacks and participates in as many breast cancer fundraisers as possible.
“Being a social worker is not a job for me — it’s a calling,” she said. “I do everything like I’m doing it for God, because in the end, I want to be found faithful.”
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