Sandra Lunceford has triumphed over breast cancer twice in the past seven years.
The longtime Bluffton resident was first diagnosed with the disease in 2004. After surgery and radiation, she was healthy again. Or at least she thought she was.
But in 2008, just a few weeks prior to her scheduled mammogram, Lunceford found a lump. The cancer had come back and quickly spread. Because it was on a lymph node this time, doctors removed all the nodes in her arm. Then she went through chemotherapy and radiation.
Lunceford said she is now in remission and doing well. She continues to follow up with her doctors and performs self-exams regularly.
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"I'm not one to talk about this because there are other people with issues," Lunceford said. "The reason I do this is because it's just so important for women to do mammograms and self-examinations."
It was Lunceford's proactive attitude that inspired another local woman to take a stand against breast cancer.
LoCo Boot Camp owner Laura Morgan, who used to work with Lunceford at the town of Bluffton, said raising awareness and money for breast cancer research has always been near and dear to her heart. She has seen friends and family members struggle with the disease.
"It's something that I think as a woman we're all very much aware of, and it's been a very scary disease for so long," Morgan said. "Breast cancer affects so many people in so many ways."
She said she began participating in breast cancer fundraisers about 10 years ago. But she said Lunceford motivated her to start a movement here in the Lowcountry.
So in 2009, Morgan founded Carolina Cups, a nonprofit organization that raises money for breast cancer education, screening, treatment and clinical research. Now the organization is gearing up for a three-day walk/run. LoCo Motion will be held Friday through Sunday on the beaches of Hilton Head Island and in old town Bluffton. Participants can do one, two or all three days of the 10-mile-a-day event.
Proceeds will go to several regional cancer organizations, including Beaufort Memorial Hospital's Keyserling Cancer Center, Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services and the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Morgan is looking forward to a successful fundraiser and said several hundred people already have registered.
"We all have a social responsibility at the end of the day," Morgan said. "And this was something that I could do to give back and help the community."