Cheering for a cure


At age 13, when Amy Demmons was in high school, she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, joining the 5% of people who don’t produce insulin and thus have to monitor their blood glucose levels and deal with shots or pumps.
She never thought that at the age of 45 she would have to battle yet another disease: breast cancer.
While Demmons has participated in the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk before, last weekend’s event was the first she one she walked as a survivor, paying it forward to help support fundraising and awareness efforts that mark October, or Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Many members of the Concord High School community also took part, including the author of this article and fellow members of the CHS cheerleader team she co-captains with McKenna Kopp.
Cheerleaders have made the event an annual team activity.
Concord’s three-mile walk began and ended at Memorial Field on Sunday, October 19. More than 300 communities across the country now host such events.
Demmons also raises money for research, awareness and support by selling bracelets that she makes.  This year East Side Learning Center, where she works, hosted a bake sale in her honor to raise additional funds.
You can buy one of Demmons’ bracelets by contacting her through East Side Learning Center.
Demmons was diagnosed with breast cancer with her husband standing at her side on October 29, 2013.
She immediately thought of her family and how this could affect them. And, she had a lot to learn following her diagnosis, she said.
“I thought everyone that had breast cancer had surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. I found that everyone’s treatment was different and could consist of some or all of these treatments,” she explained.
Only 10% of people in their early stages of the disease receive chemotherapy. Demmons was not one of them, though she did have to undergo surgeries to clear the cancer from her body.
The support she received was more than she ever expected, Demmons said. Her husband was there for every appointment and treatment she had. She also was grateful for the support of her family members, co-workers, families of the daycare she works at and her fellow church members at Faith Tabernacle.
“I was overwhelmed by the support they showed.”
Her daughter created meals for her and her husband and also helped out with work around the house. Said Demmons: “My favorite thing Jess did for me was bring my grandson, Matthew, to come visit me.”
Demmons also received gifts from people in the community. “People made so many prayer shawls for me that I don’t even know what to do with all of them.”
“The most memorable thing would be the support shown by the child care families at the bake sale held in my honor to raise money,” she said.
The need to support others now fighting the disease is great. Experts say 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives.
“I choose to do this,” Demmons said of the breast cancer walk.
She advises anyone touched by this disease to accepts help. “When someone offers help, say yes! Even if you want to be super tough and do everything yourself you really need help and shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed to accept help.”
Concord High School Cheerleading raised more than $1,200 for Making Strides this year. Next year’s event has been scheduled to take place on October 18, 2015.