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Wall of Hope celebrates 12 Newton County breast cancer survivors

For those who are diagnosed with it, breast cancer can be terrifying.

But there is hope, and the Wall of Hope celebrates breast cancer survivors. Located at the entrance of the Diagnostic Center at Newton Medical Center, the wall features portraits of 12 women who have all faced breast cancer and survived .

On Tuesday, the Wall of Hope was unveiled to an audience of over 60 people, many dressed in pink. Every year, photos of 12 breast cancer survivors, nominated by friends, family or themselves, will be displayed on the Wall of Hope.

Brenda Edwards, Executive Director of the Kimberly Chance Atkins Foundation, sponsors of the wall, introduced this year’s celebrants: Samantha Allen, Jennifer Hartley, and Leola Thornton of Social Circle; Dianna Galloway, Velinda Wheeles, Helena Bell, Stephanie Lunt, Kay Goff, Margaret Wimberly, Joan LeJeune, Ruth Walker and Jennifer Mosley of Covington.

“The reason we’re here is to celebrate the 12 women who survived breast cancer,” said Edwards. “A breast cancer survivor said, ‘We don’t know how strong we are until being strong is our only choice’.”

In the wake of a breast cancer diagnosis, she said, women—and men, who are also vulnerable--are faced with overwhelming choices, such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. “It doesn’t matter what age, what color, what area you are from, breast cancer is prevalent,” she said.

“The wall will give others hope that they can survive,” said Walker, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, but who has been cancer free for 10 years.

Hartley agrees. “The wall is an inspiration to others, that there is life after the dark.”

This is the first year for the Wall of Hope in Newton County. A similar wall at Rockdale County Medical Center is in its fourth year.

The Kimberly Chance Atkins Foundation is a nonprofit agency named in honor of Atkins, who died of breast cancer at the age of 32 in 1999. The foundation promotes early detection and education about prevention, treatment options and recovery. Edwards said that in addition to helping fund over 400 mammograms for those in financial need, the foundation also assists in the next step of treatment, if needed.