Breast cancer was just Yolanda Mitchell’s first bad news. A decade ago at age thirty, the part-time model and boutique owner endured a mastectomy and monstrous doses of chemotherapy and radiation.“It’s been all downhill from there,” says the surprisingly cheerful Mitchell, as she ticks off a laundry list of the procedures and diagnoses she began to face.
Jeremy had gone hunting, so two days after Christmas, Brandy Green rose late to make breakfast alone. She and Jeremy lived in a small, white-brick ranch house near Brandy’s parents in Ellijay. Together six years, married three, they were having trouble getting pregnant and Brandy had started fertility treatments. She thought about this as the coffee brewed.
If things are not going well and you don’t know what to do next, my job is to figure out how we go about figuring out what’s wrong. Is this vasculitis? An autoimmune disease like lupus? Sometimes it’s just a drug allergy. You keep going back to the history, you keep going back to the physical [exam] until you get the clue that leads you to the right diagnosis.
Michael Moore was the first person to save seventeen-year-old Scott Dolezal’s life last year. The Westminster Schools maintenance staffer just happened to come into work that Saturday, August 1. He just happened to drive his utility tractor the long way around campus to avoid disturbing parents who were watching preseason cross-country trials. And he just happened to glance back over his shoulder after he passed a runner along the wooded trail—at the very moment the runner toppled silently into a deep ravine, where he hung hidden and motionless, feet tangled in brush, suspended headfirst over a creek.
Childhood cancer is like a journey that starts when you meet a new family, a new patient. Nobody expects children to have cancer. It’s literally unbelievable. So there’s this big element of shock and fear and grief. These truly are diseases that threaten the life of their beautiful child.