Leslie Berry was a honest worker and living the typical life of a middle aged woman in the South when in 2006 her life took a tremendous turn. Berry went from working and caring for her family to being seriously effected by two major problems in America at this time. The first was our nation’s troublesome economy. After being laid off from her job of fifteen years she was unsure as to where she would find work in her late fifties having earned a high school diploma. This was just the beginning of her problems. Soon after being laid off Berry went to the doctor for a check up and was informed that she had cancerous cells throughout her blood and a small lump in her breast. Immediately she became very worried and scared because she knew that breast cancer is a very serious and more often than not a terminal illness. Ms. Berry was already a very religious person and felt pretty secure in her relationship with the higher power but, after her diagnosis she noted that her everyday life changed by making it a point to become closer to her family, friends, and God. Berry used her family, church members, and prayer to pull her through her ordeal. Luckily Ms. Berry caught the cancerous cells in her body early and through treatment she was able to get rid of it before having to go through much more serious treatment like years of chemotherapy and/or the loss of her breast. Berry made it clear that her months of treatments and doctors visits was a very fightening experience and it definitely made her appreciate her body more. When Berry was posed the question: “Does the media and the market do enough and/or depict women with breast cancer fairly,in her opinion?” She answered, “Yes.” In her opinion America is doing a great job at promoting awareness of breast cancer and facilatating efforts to come up with a cure and better treatments of the illness. Unfortunately, Berry did not have insurance due to her layoff before being diagnosed, so she had to pay for her medical expenses. Today, Berry has completed her treatment and is enjoying her life one day at a time.
After conducting our interviews, our group realized that even though each of our interviewees was aware of cancer and the troubles of dealing with the illness before they actually had their experiences, they all found the process of actually dealing with it more traumatic than they could have ever imagined. Each person interviewed changed their perception of the illness and turned their negative experience into a positive. Maureen Lovett was angry when she lost her sister, but realized that she had to learn from her experience and try and help fight the disease so that other people may not have to go through what she went through. Breast cancer movements were her avenue for further bringing awareness to the issue. Betty Wingo found the silver lining in her dark cloud from the beginning of her ordeal. She focused more on the fact that she was still alive rather than losing her hair and her breast. Within Wingo's interview, the feminist issue of the perception of women's beauty was highlighted as the social norm of beauty was redefined by their ability to use their new appearance to be embraced by the breast cancer community or on a larger scale the world. Feminism lies in the fact that courage and a strong community create an image that represents women as a whole and ignores physical disparities. Leslie Berry’s life was on a downward spiral after losing her job and then being diagnosed with cancer. Berry turned to family, faith, and put her trust in her treatment and she made it through a life changing situation. Each of these women battled cancer and used their experience as a tool for self empowerment and inspiration. Even though their experiences are different, each woman showed extreme perseverance in what could have halted them from enjoying life.
This assignment gave us the ability to research a topic that we all found both important and relevant to feminism. We believe this project represents how the community must approach issues in this day and age, to ignite change and awareness. Interviews and research gave us vital pieces of information, but the project went deeper and allowed us to publish our results and present the information to educate others. We believe that with the increasing usage of blogs, posting, and familiarizing ourselves with this technology was beneficial. We enjoyed the interviewing process as well, and were happy to see how the panel of women was able to pride themselves on their strengths and support with the Breast Cancer community. The research we gathered was both interesting and inspirational as well. We researched Breast Cancer, because of the importance of the issue globally, and on an individual. We believe that in our examining of the issue, we were able to see how different individuals are linked to the global association of Breast Cancer.