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Professor, 22-year cancer survivor rallies for a cure

By Rob Starbuck, rstarbuck@wisctv.com
Published On: May 17 2013 08:37:30 PM CDT
Updated On: May 18 2013 03:41:17 PM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

Professor Gloria Ladson-Billings was traveling to Madison from California to take her new post at University of Wisconsin-Madison when she made an alarming discovery.

"I was driving, we stopped in Laramie. I was taking a shower, and I felt something that didn't feel quite right," said Ladson-Billings.

As soon as she arrived in Madison, she went to the doctor. Her suspicions were confirmed. She had breast cancer. 

But that was 22 years ago. Professor Ladson-Billings is in good health today and she's a staunch supporter of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. She's also known for recruiting the largest teams.

 As a deacon at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, she "recruits" members of her congregation and raises awareness about the disease, especially in African-American women.

"We push the fact that it's important for us as a predominantly African-American congregation to know more about the disease, to have a presence and to help spread the message," Ladson-Billings said.

The assistant chancellor also spreads her compassion for women coping with the rigors of treatment by offering them a scarf from her collection. She said she lost her hair during treatment and wasn't comfortable wearing a wig. 

"It's really a delight to bring just a little bit of joy to people's lives as they go through [treatment]," Ladson-Billings said.

She added from experience, women should do a monthly self-breast exam and begin getting mammograms by age 40.

News 3 is sponsoring the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure again this year. The race is set for June 1. To join the News 3 team, simply search WISC under "join an existing team" when you register online. 

Early registration ends Saturday and online registration ends Wednesday. More information about the race can be found on the Channel 3000 Facebook page or at http://www.komenmadison.org/komen-race-for-the-cure/

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