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July August 2007
Coping with Cancer

Editor’s Note: Cancer can’t yet be cured for certain. But it can be survived. In this issue, Connections features the survival stories of TDCJ employees who have fought cancer with courage. Three are in remission, and one is again fighting the disease following a recurrence.

Relay for Life event raises money for cancer research, services

illustration of relay runners

Doug Odom learned years ago that cancer is a heartless disease that doesn’t discriminate between those who take good care of themselves and those who do not. If that were the case, he figures that it certainly wouldn’t have claimed his mother, a woman who had always maintained a healthy lifestyle. Her death in 1996 left her family stunned and asking why.

Each day a gift, blessing for TDCJ employee who twice survived cancer

cleere with son and husband wearing race shirts

Kathy Cleere is a fortysomething who in no way dreads the approach of another birthday. In fact, she looks forward to each one. That’s largely because at the age of 31, Cleere was diagnosed with breast cancer, a diagnosis that threatened to end the life she now so thoroughly appreciates and enjoys. In some ways, she even feels blessed for having had to fight the dreadful disease, not once, but twice.

Human Resources section director has "Hope" of cure with return of cancer

lowe with stuffed dog in hand

Robin Lowe has “Hope” in her fight against cancer. At home, “Hope” is a feisty black Labrador Retriever her husband, Jay, recently gave her as a present. In her Huntsville office, Lowe has more “Hope” in the form of a fluffy toy Labrador Retriever she received from her administrative assistant.

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