In July 2003, Kay Powell of Richmond, then 57, lost her job when her employer moved its manufacturing operation overseas.
Because of how she became unemployed, Powell was eligible for assistance with up to two years of schooling.
While she was exploring her career options, Powell was hit by an even greater challenge.
Her annual mammogram detected a lump in her breast.
That was on Oct. 4. Twelve days later, she was at Pattie A. Clay Hospital undergoing a lumpectomy.
“I was one of the luck ones,” said Powell, who moved to Richmond 26 years ago. “My cancer was detected early.”
The operation by Dr. Hamed Koury appeared to be successful, and she has been cancer-free for the past 10 years.
“I’m a strong believer in getting an annual mammogram,” she said, attributing her survival in large part to early detection.
With her surgery out of the way, Powell went back to thinking about what she would do for the rest of her life.
She decided Eastern Kentucky University’s child development program was the best fit for her, and both her husband and daughter encouraged her to enroll.
And after earning an associate’s degree, Powell went to work for the preschool program at Richmond’s First United Methodist Church.
She kept that job until her husband’s poor health led her to give it up to care for him.
While she was recovering from her surgery, Powell was visited by Arlayne Francis, co-founder of the Madison County Breast Cancer Support Group.
Members of the group visit breast cancer patients to deliver a “Recovery Basket” filled with items they will find useful after surgery.
The baskets typically are decorated with pink tissue and include items such as coffee mugs, candles, hand lotions, notebooks, coffee, tea, chewing gum, hard candies, devotional books and goodies from local beauty salons.
Powell appreciated the visit and the basket, but she didn’t get involved with the group until later.
While attending a Body Recall class, the exercise program for older adults, Powell noticed that she and another woman, Phyllis McDaniel, were wearing identical T-shirts promoting breast cancer awareness.
As they talked, McDaniel told Powell about her participation as an active member of the support group.
Recalling her initial experience with the organization, Powell decided to attend a meeting and has been active since.
Among the members are women who have been cancer-free for years longer than she, Powell said, and that helps give her hope of remaining free of cancer.
She also finds strength and satisfaction with the group to help others who are in the battle against breast cancer.
Powell was able to reassure a cancer patient who was anxious about taking a medication that she had taken. She shared her experience, telling the new patient about potential side effects and how to cope with them.
More recently, she worked a booth for the support group at a local fitness center to help raise money for a cancer patient to pay her medical bills.
On Nov. 2, she will be volunteering again, helping the group stage the annual Women’s Wellness Fun Day.
- Local News
May 30 last school day for students
After 16 snows days and two weather delays this winter, the Madison County School Board decided Thursday to end the school year on Friday, May 30.
Students showcase projects in Technology Extravaganza
Madison County School students showed off just how tech savvy they can be during the district’s sixth annual Technology Extravaganza on Thursday at Madison Central High School. After the showcase, more than 350 students were honored for their work.
Ward honored for service; tech center named after him
Retired Madison County educator Jesse Ward was recognized Thursday for his many years of service. To honor him, Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the board’s decision to rename the district’s technology training center on North Second Street in Richmond the Jesse P. Ward Technology and Training Center.
Berea man indicted on 24 child porn counts
A Madison grand jury has indicted a Berea man on 24 counts related to child pornography.
Brian J. Smith, 26, is charged with four counts of distribution and 20 counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by a minor.
Police apprehend burglary suspect
An observant witness was able to help Richmond police catch a burglary suspect shortly after a break-in Thursday afternoon on Savanna Drive off Berea Road.
Walkers, runners of every age ‘Pack the Track’
Waco Elementary and Model Laboratory schools students raised more than $8,000 (and counting) for the annual Pack the Track event at Eastern Kentucky University’s Tom Samuels Track Thursday, said Kim DeCoste of the Madison County Diabetes Coalition.
Suicide attempt fatal for inmate
A Todd County man died Tuesday at a Lexington hospital following a suicide attempt at the Madison County Detention Center, according to Madison and Fayette county officials.
George Kenneth Williams, 50, of Allensville, was transported Monday afternoon by Madison County EMS to Baptist Health Richmond, according to EMS Director Jimmy Cornelison. He was then transferred to Baptist Health in Lexington where he died Tuesday, according to the Fayette County Coroner’s Office.
CCDW instructor indicted on charges of failing to provide training
A Madison County grand jury has indicted a carry-concealed weapons permit instructor on charges he falsely claimed to have provided instruction to one person for a CCDW permit and provided incomplete training to three others.
Christopher D. Fins was indicted April 9 on one count of CCDW instructor not providing firearms training and three counts of providing incomplete firearms training.
Fins faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of all four felony charges.
EKU dorm sprinklers may have been activated maliciously
Fire-suppression sprinklers went off about 2:30 a.m. Thursday in Eastern Kentucky University’s Martin Hall dormitory, prompting its evacuation.
Fluctuating pressure then caused a campus water main to break, according to EKU spokesperson Mark Whitt.
The cause is uncertain, but university officials are investigating to determine if the sprinklers were activated maliciously, Whitt said.
The residence hall houses 260 students who were placed in other university housing or stayed with friends. All were able to move back in later in the day, he said.
Sixth person charged in motel meth bust
A sixth person has been charged in connection with a methamphetamine-making operation discovered last week at the Bel Air Motel in Richmond.
Roger M. Million, 24, Moberly Road, was charged Wednesday with manufacturing methamphetamine.
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