May 24, 2017 Edition

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Householder Inspires as activist
for great cancer awareness

Deana Householder, Ricca Brady and MaryJane Callahan pose with Arkansas State University mascot, Scarlett. All three women are cancer survivors and participated in the inaugural Susan G. Komen Northeast Arkansas Race for the Cure.

Aubree Hughart
TD Intern

For many people, "cancer" is one of the scariest words in the dictionary. If lucky, cancer always remains only a fear and never becomes a reality. However, for some, that one little word comes to life in what can be enormous and devastating ways.

Often, people see cancer as a tragedy but never think it will happen to them. Walnut Ridge Middle School teacher Deana Householder had no idea what was coming her way when she went the day after school was over to get her mammogram appointment out of the way before the start of summer.

Householder had been keeping track of a growing spot that originally concerned her, but a doctor told her it was nothing to worry about. The scheduled mammogram turned into an ultrasound appointment and then a biopsy.

Householder said by that third appointment, she already knew. "At that point I was devastated, but I knew in my heart what was coming," she noted.

After her diagnosis during the first week of June 2016, treatment followed as it always does, but Householder made the decision early on that she was not going to be a victim of her breast cancer.

"I knew immediately that the Lord was going to use this for His glory no matter the outcome," she said. She says her strength in her faith and her family were the two main things that got her through one of the hardest times in her life.

Householder has been cancer-free for approximately six months. However, her journey is just beginning. "I have become an advocate for breast cancer awareness and finding a cure because now I know, it is one of the most devastating things in existence," said Householder.

Team raises $3,917

Recently, Householder created a team for the inaugural Susan G. Komen Northeast Arkansas Race for the Cure. The 5K race was held May 6, with more than 4,100 participants. During the weeks before, Householder rallied 37 individuals from the community to be on her team.

The team, named Deana's Hooter Hackers, has raised $3,917 to date, making them the fourth largest fundraising team by donations for the NEA Race. Deana herself has raised $1,810 so far individually, making her the number two top participant in the NEA race. Individual and group participants fundraising total is currently more than $87,000 across the NEA.

The race grossed more than $400,000, according to race chairman Candace Cooper, but to Householder, it is about even more than the money. "I always feel like there's strength in numbers and just meeting all the survivors and being with everybody the day of the race just boosted everyone's morale in hopes to one day find a cure," she added.

Householder plans to actively continue working with organizations that support the cause that is now so close to her heart. She has speaking opportunities lined up for the fall at Lawrence Memorial Hospital and plans to work with Runway for the Cure in Little Rock.

Additionally, Householder has used her experience to help start a new ministry at Central Baptist of Jonesboro, where she and her family attend. The ministry, Not Alone, functions as a support group for cancer survivors, cancer patients and their family members.

Deana's life was completely turned around with the news of her cancer, but she is now a proud survivor and has used her experience to rally the community and inspire others.

She and her family will forever be grateful for those who stood by their side. Householder said, "I would like to thank the community for their love and support through prayer, food, cards and visits. Each gesture meant so much to me and my family."

Interested individuals may still donate to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and support breast cancer research through the local team. Donations will be accepted through the end of the month. For more information, contact Deana Householder at jdhouseholder@msn.com.

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