Farm Progress

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Shelley E. Huguley, Editor

October 9, 2018

2 Min Read
In loving memory of Doniece Lawson, center.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Events are happening across the globe to highlight the necessity for early detection, and to focus on the battle women — and men (about 2,000 men are diagnosed each year) — are so bravely fighting, or have fought, to live beyond the disease.

This month, our high school will hold a pink-out pep rally, with the spirit speech delivered by one of our local breast cancer survivors. In nearby Lubbock, Texas, Caprock Winery hosted a fundraiser where participants stomped grapes to “stomp out cancer.” Two of the many planned events.

When I think about breast cancer survivors, several women come to mind: my next-door neighbor; a high school classmate who recently posted a photo of herself when she was going through chemo, with a message reminding us of the importance of early detection; and my best friend from college. Like many, her chemo treatments claimed her locks of naturally curly hair, but a recent visit proved chemo didn’t have the last word, as her beautiful, thick hair has returned. Locks of faith, I told her, a reminder that God still heals.  

But not everyone in my life has lived to tell about their journey. Only 39 years old, a wife, mother of two grown girls and a first-time grandmother, my sister-in-law Doniece Lawson was diagnosed with breast cancer. For five years she battled with courage, determination, and faith that could move mountains.

Doniece never stopped living on the outside, while the cancer was devouring her on the inside. Even when she was on oxygen and too weak to walk, she kept looking for opportunities to celebrate. She loved birthdays, family gatherings, and holidays — any opportunity to be together.

One Christmas, while in remission, Doniece decided we would play “Let’s Make a Deal.” We all dressed up in costumes including Doniece, who said since she had the short hair she would play Monty Hall, the show’s host. She photographed us in our silly costumes, later making memory albums for us.

Doniece never seemed to lose her zeal, though there were plenty of dark moments. She never seemed to stop celebrating, though there were days her pain and nausea stopped her in her tracks. And she didn’t allow the people around her to stop living either, though their hearts were breaking knowing they would eventually have to let her go.  

Doniece is in Heaven with her Savior, pain- and cancer-free. While we didn't get to make a deal here on earth, I contend that Doniece beat cancer because she never let it beat her. She didn’t stop living. She didn’t stop loving. And she refused to stop believing.

To all those fighting this fight and those walking the journey with them, we pray for strength, healing, moments of celebration in the midst, and a cure!

About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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