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Profile: Debbie Burchett

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"My Primary Goal is to Make a Difference in Someone's Life Each Day."


In 1992, when Debbie Burchett was 44 years old, she learned she had breast cancer. She had a mastectomy, reconstructive breast surgery and chemotherapy. Despite her treatment, Debbie was able to continue teaching music to children in elementary school in her hometown of Winston-Salem, NC. She lost her hair, but gained a new perspective on life. Debbie explains, "All of the encouragement and support I received from family 9especially my wondeerful husband Alan), friends and neighbors, as well as strangers, overwhelmed me. I began to see God's love in everyone. I was so grateful, I wanted to give back what I received."


When her treatment ended, Debbie's hair grew back, and her life was relatively normal for four years, until she had a breast cancer recurrence. Again, she faced treatment-this time, radiation and more chemo. Again, she lost her hair. That's when she learned about Look Good... Feel Better, a free program showing how to use makeup to disguise changes in appearance caused by cancer treatment. It is a joint effort between the American Cancer Society, the National Cosmetology Association and the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association Foundation.

Soon after, Debbie learned about "tlc". She was so pleased with the sweater and matching tam she ordered, it prompted her to write to the American Cancer Society, including "before" and "after" pictures. Debbie wrote: "My before-and-after make-up and a wig or hat every morning is a magical process. Thank you for all your support and all you provide to patients like me."

Since she wrote that letter, Debbie has had another cancer recurrence. She continues to receive treatment, but she remains committed to helping other cancer patients by showing them they can have a happy and meaningful life while fighting the disease. She volunteers in the chemotherapy department at a local hospital, lending encouragement and support to patients and their families.

Debbie says it's important to think positively and never give up. "When you wake up in the morning, think of all the things you have and can do...and reach out to others. In so doing, you won't dwell on your own problems."

In addition to her faith, her medical care and her family and friends, Debbie also credits "tlc" and Look Good...Feel Better for helping her through the difficult times. She says, "My primary goal is to make a difference in someone's life each day." There is no doubt she is doing exactly that.

For more information about Look Good...Feel Better, "tlc" or other American Cancer Society (ACS) programs for women with breast cancer, call ACS at 1-800-ACS-2345, or visit the ACS website at www.cancer.org.

Para solicitar información en español, llame al 1-800-ACS-2345. Un especialista en información sobre el cáncer le asistirá en español..

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