For the past six years, Hungry Howie’s ‘Love, Hope & Pizza’ campaign has not only raised over $1.5 million in donations for the National Breast Cancer Foundation®, it has also given a voice to breast cancer survivors by sharing their stories of love, hope and inspiration. DBA is honored to share the inspiring story of one of those breast cancer survivors.
Linda Hall’s mother and father both died of cancer. Five of her siblings died of cancer. Seven of her aunts and uncles have died of cancer. Her grandfather died of lung cancer. It’s easy to understand, then, that when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, Linda was terrified.
“When the doctor told me I had breast cancer, I nearly died simply from the fear,” she recalls, telling her story in a soft voice. “I was killing myself with worry. I almost passed away before they discovered that I was bleeding internally. The doctor gave me a blood transfusion and said it was in God’s hands. I slowly felt my strength returning, and I reached up to God, and I gave myself to him. God has carried me ever since.”
The breast cancer had been discovered during a routine physical and was in its early stages. Linda, then 46, had a lumpectomy and five lymph nodes removed from under her left arm, followed by chemotherapy. While battling this first round of cancer, Linda worked full time and Loreal Nathaniel, the younger of her two daughters, was in fifth grade.
When her doctor discovered cancer in her other breast in May 2012, Linda’s reaction was much different.
“I realized that God had taken away my spirit of fear,” she remembers. “I was in awe that I wasn’t afraid. I had so much strength in God that there was no fear. And later that year when I was diagnosed with lung cancer, I thought that surely God did not bring me through two bouts of cancer to let me suffer through a third bout and not survive.”
Again, because her breast cancer was discovered in its early stages, Linda successfully fought it by having another lumpectomy, and by having two lymph nodes removed from under her right arm, followed by chemotherapy. The lung cancer also was caught early enough that only part of her lung had to be removed. “God healed me in the midst of it,” she says.
Through her faith, family support and medical care, Linda says she realizes how God has guided and protected her. Her children, family and friends cared for her during her recoveries. Looking back at all she’s endured, she is grateful that she is still alive 15 years after her first diagnosis.
Her daughter Loreal remembers how her aunt helped her mother through her initial fight against breast cancer. “I’ll never forget watching my mom battle and beat cancer for the first time with her closest sister right by her side, and then watching that same aunt of mine ending up with cancer shortly after and passing away from it. That nearly crushed my mom, but somehow, she made it through.”
While her mother was physically weak and emotionally fragile at first, Loreal saw how her faith gave her courage. “There is power in a praying woman, and I believe that my mom is a warrior.”
Linda found strength by believing that “greater is He who is on the inside than all that is in the world. I’ve learned that no matter what, God is there. Even if you have only a mustard seed of faith, He’ll get you over the highest mountain or through the lowest valley.”
To show your support for the National Breast Cancer Foundation®, please follow this link http://bit.ly/1iOR3Hf to make a donation. #LoveHopePizza