7/23/2014 5:32 PM
by Karen Franklin
HAWKS NEST - Jackie Eades is as strong as two cancer survivors because she defeated the disease twice.
"I wanted it out, and the waiting to have the surgery and get it set up -- you're thinking -- I thought that, 'It's in there, what's it doing, if it's spreading or what damage is it doing,'" Jackie said.
She was first diagnosed with breast cancer at 31, then again 10 years later. Indy, the unexpected son she and Jeff, her husband of 25 years, never thought they'd have, came in between.
"I was very career focused, and I was the oldest of six, so I was mother hen to my siblings," she said.
Indy is the reason Jackie made it through her second diagnosis.
"When you have children, it's your first thoughts," Jackie said. "My little boy is my life. I don't want to die. After that, my next thoughts are that I want to fight. I just gotta know what I gotta do."
Her son also spoke with Newswatch.
"I was young at the time," Indy told WOAY. "It was really sad at that time, and I'm glad she fought through it."
There is one day the two remember like it was yesterday. It happened in the University of Virginia Hospital's Intensive Care Unit.
"They let me go in when I wasn't supposed to, and I gave my mom a big hug and a kiss and told her I loved her and keep on fighting," he said.
It is one of Jackie's favorite memories.
"That made me feel good, and I wanted out of that room so I could see him in the next room," Jackie said.
Ronda Howell has been to every appointment and surgery. The two met on Senior Skip Day in high school, and they've even worked together since 1992. She is Jackie's best friend and a second set of ears.
"There is nothing that I wouldn't have done for her because I wanted to make it better for her," Ronda said. "It just makes it real because you always hear this happening to other people, but when it's somebody that you know and care about, it opens your eyes."
Jackie spoke more about the meaning of their friendship.
"There was times that she could just look at me, and she knew what I needed or knew what I wanted," Jackie said about Ronda. "She knew me."
She's also helped Jackie make quick decisions, one of which was the removal of her breasts and ovaries.
"I was scared," Jackie said. "I didn't know what to do. I didn't know which way to go. They're standing there, and they're needing to know."
It was also hard for Ronda.
"It is so hard to see somebody you care about go through that, and you just feel helpless because you can't make it better but you want to make it better but you can't," she said.
Jackie is now helping local women through Queenie's Pink Ladies, a two-year old organization that provides emotional assistance to cancer patients and raises money for gas and hotel stays.
"Some people are scared and don't want to know," Jackie said. "But I think the more you know, the more you're prepared to handle some of the things you go through, and talking to somebody who's been through it is a help."