KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Deborah Mauldin was all smiles in a photo one month before her breast cancer diagnosis in 2009.
It was tough.
"Stage three triple negative breast cancer, and that there was lymph node involvement," she said.
She was 39 years old and a single mother.
"That petrified me to think that I was going to leave this world, and not be able to raise her. She was only 9 years old at the time," she said.
Deborah and her doctors decided on aggressive treatment.
"I had six rounds of chemo, and then a double mastectomy in October of 2009, and then began radiation in November and was deemed cancer-free in January 2010," she said.
In the middle of all that she turned 40 and participated in her first Race for the Cure, wearing a wig and prosthetics.
"It just became really, really important to me to help raise funds for treatment and for a cure. I mean that's the biggest thing from research, because we have to find the cure," she said.
Her hair grew back, she married her soul mate, and for 11 years now she's been reaching out to others.
"There's actually a group in town called Breast Connect and we have an online portal of people that have been survivors for 20 years survivors for a year, people who are newly diagnosed," she said. "It really does help to talk to someone who's been there. It really does. It helps to have resources out there because you know until you hear those words 'you have cancer' you have no idea what having cancer means, and it's a life changer to say the least."
Her life has includes Race for the Cure again and again and again.
And she's celebrated milestones like her daughter's graduation, her 50th birthday last year and the birth of her first granddaughter October 11.
"I have a beautiful, beautiful brand new granddaughter."
And though she is a survivor, her life continues to be touched by breast cancer.
"Sadly I've got three friends right now that are in different stages of breast cancer," she said.
That motivates her to do all she can do.
She said, "Whether it's through walking or running or driving in a car parade for Susan G. Komen and the Race for the Cure for this year, or whether it's talking to a woman who just got diagnosed. I want to do everything I possibly can to help people through this horrific journey."
A journey she's walked and won.
From Susan G. Komen East Tennessee:
Have you heard? We are VIRTUAL this year and are asking participants to Race Where You Are.
Did you know that our donation goal this year is $100,000! Of those funds, 75% of the net proceeds remain locally in our 16 county service area to provide free screening and diagnostic services and patient assistance. The remaining 25% of funds teams with Affiliates across the nation to fund research to find the cures. Want to help us reach our goal?
Visit www.KomenEastTN.org or mail your donations to: Komen East TN, 318 Nancy Lynn Ln. #13, Knoxville, TN 37919.
RACE START: This year's Start will happen online with an opening ceremony followed by a live feed of our Survivor/Thriver Car Parade of Pink. We hope that you are able to log into the Race App to watch or catch it on our Facebook or WBIR. The opening Ceremony will begin at 8:30 am
RACE BIBS: Remember to wear your Race bib when you Race where you are and when you post your selfies.
TIMED RUNNERS: If you are a competitive runner, you must send in a pic of your time on your device with your bib number and age to RaceChair@KomenEastTN.org by midnight on October 31, to qualify for time runner awards
PETS/SKATES: Inline skates and pets are welcome to our Virtual format. In fact, you may register your pep this year and receive a pink scarf for them to wear. When registering, choose "Youth" and use discount code "Paws4theCause".
BACK SIGNS: Please wear your "In Celebration Of/In Memory Of" back sign included in your Race packet when out walking or running on Race day. Also include it when you post your selfies.
Join us in the week leading up to Race as we PINK OUT!
Remember to send us your selfie, you never know what will happen as a Virtual Winner.
Monday- Hat Day – take a selfie in your favorite Pink Hat
Tu-Tu Tuesday- put on the pink TuTu and submit your selfie
Warm-Up Wednesday – submit your short video of your warm-up routine
Throwback Thursday- submit a selfie in one of your old Race t-shirts
Pink Out Friday – submit a selfie that is as pink as you can get!
All selfies are to be submitted to info@KomenEastTN.org before midnight that day.