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Posted: September 29, 2012 3:48 p.m.

Early detection key to surviving cancer

Breast cancer survivor Dianna Galloway said early detection was the key to fighting and surviving the illness, which she and her mother were diagnosed with.

The Newton County School System bus driver said 24 years ago, her mom Beverly Nelson was diagnosed with breast cancer and she passed away. She said after her mom was diagnosed, she decided to start having screenings and mammograms done for herself.

In 2003, at the age of 39, Galloway found out she had breast cancer. At the time, she had a 4-month-old daughter and a 7-year-old son. Soon after she was diagnosed, she decided to get involved with helping to raise awareness about breast cancer and raising money to help find a cure for the disease.

"I was diagnosed and I had to go have all these kind of surgeries," Galloway said. "I started doing Relay for Life after I was diagnosed and I've been involved in it ever since."
Galloway said after a few years of testing and surgeries, she is now cancer free. However, that hasn't stopped her from being involved with events in the community that raised money for the cause. She continues to inspire others to keep fighting against the illness.

Galloway is the team captain for Big Wheel Drivers, which is a group of Newton County school bus drivers who participate in Relay for Life. The group has about 15 members and most of the bus drivers in the group have family members who have had breast cancer. Galloway's son Ken Galloway, who's now 18, has also been active in the cause.

"I was a team captain and my son was a team captain for 4-H for a couple of years and then he went on to the Relay for Life committee," she said. "I just give all that I can to try to help find a cure to help save other people."

Galloway said she started getting tested for breast cancer at the age of 23 and that a lot of doctors don't recommend having mammograms until the age of 40. She said she was glad that she started having her testing done at an early age because it allowed her to detect the disease early. She recommended that other people would do the same.

"Make sure that you have your mammograms and keep up with them because if I never started having mine when I did, I probably would have never caught mine," she said.
"If everybody can just look at me and see that I did survive doing everything I had to go through, [I hope] that would just inspire other people not to give up and to go ahead and continue fighting so that they will have many, many years left with their family too."

Galloway said she hopes more people would get involved with Relay for Life and other organizations to help find a cure for breast cancer.

"Anybody who will be willing to get involved with Relay for Life will help," she said. "Every bit of money that's raised helps save lives and helps toward finding a cure some day."

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