Editor’s note: March is Women’s History Month. This year’s theme “Promoting Healing, Promoting Hope,” is a tribute to caregivers and frontline workers during the pandemic and also recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.
Peggy White, owner of Waynesboro Emporium, spreads hope for healing by sharing personal stories.
White, 70, is a 4-year survivor of breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2018 during a routine mammogram, doctors found the disease in its early stages. White had a lumpectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
“Chemo was first, and I was not sick at all,” she said. “It was very easy on me. I had to go every week. I would go to the therapy and then go straight to work. Then I drove myself to radiation once-a-week for 30 days. I would go at 8 a.m. and be at work at 9 a.m.”
A follow-up mammogram indicated that the cancer was in remission.
“I have had my mammograms every year since then,” she said. “I am still good.”
White takes every opportunity to inspire hope in others. Through church and business, she receives many referrals.
“You would be surprised how many people have cancer,” she said.
White said overcoming cancer is in large part determined by attitude and faith. A cancer diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean the end of life, she said. She understands the tendency to meet a diagnosis with denial and to begin thinking about death. White said she didn’t think that way because she believed whatever she had to go through, God had her back.
“It’s a beginning,” she tells others. “It’s no more than what you make it to be. Your faith can make a big difference. How you receive it and how you handle it mentally can also affect your outcome.”
White said some people tend to give up the fight upon the initial diagnosis. She encourages them that they can overcome it. White also shares her stories with people who have lost loved ones. When customers come in to purchase flowers for funerals, she knows how they feel as well. She has lost her husband, her parents, two siblings and nieces and nephews.
“Each one is a different hurt,” White said. “Each one is a process and it gets better, but not overnight.”