Lehigh Valley

When that nagging friend saves your life: Breast cancer survivor Lynette Smith recalls her fight

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - It was never supposed to happen to her.

After all, the data says one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer.

Sitting in her kitchen, Lynette Smith shakes her head at those numbers saying, "Well, my friend Ginger had breast cancer, my friend Irma had breast cancer, my friend Sandy had breast it wasn't supposed to happen to me because the people I was surrounded by, had already went through that."

Ten years ago, Lynette was a busy wife, mom of two and principal at Ironton Elementary School, when, one day, she felt something “weird.”

So she went to the doctor -- several of them, actually -- who told her, it was nothing.

"Everyone! I have a sheet of paper that says, 'Come back next year for your annual mammogram!'" she tells us.

But one, "annoying", "nagging" good friend ("Who I always say saved my life," Lynette smiles"), made her to go to just one more doctor.

"He walked in and said, 'It wasn't what I expected. We found cancer cells.' And I was absolutely in shock."

She went right from that appointment to her son's lacrosse game.

A photo taken that night shows a mom, just diagnosed with cancer, quietly holding it together, already determined with a plan.

She tells us, she remembers driving to the game from the doctor's office, and as she turned onto Route 22, she started praying.

"I said, 'Thank you, God. I'm 50 years old. I've had an amazing life, and whatever time I have left, I am going to use wisely."

So, the then-principal told her supportive staff and beloved students the news, and kept working, even through chemo.

She says she got more support than she could've imagined, and a little more than a year later, she got a clean bill of health.

Then, a few weeks ago - a decade after some of the worst days of her life - Lynnette was there, for one of the best…her daughter's wedding.

"It was everything," she tears up. "It was the world to me…Lauren had the biggest smile on her face. She was so happy and to be a part of that, and to think there was a possibility that I may not have been there, it's extraordinarily emotional."

Maybe it wasn't supposed to happen to her, but as an educator, she knows the value of a lesson, even a hard one.

"If I have two days, two months, two years or 20 years, how am I going to live them? I want to live them with joy."

Lynette credits her success in beating cancer with the treatment she received and says it's so important for the new chemo research to continue to be funded.

You can help fund that research by taking part in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer annual walk, which will be held Saturday, October 28th at SteelStacks. 



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