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Glasscock keeps up family’s fight

Ann Glasscock knows not to sweat the little things life throws her way.

Unfortunately, she learned that lesson only after experiencing the pain of watching two women she loved dearly battle breast cancer.

Glasscock’s mother, Mary Ann Messer, succumbed to cancer earlier this year after fighting the good fight. She was 64.

“She lived as long as she did because of her attitude,” Glasscock said. “It was incredible. So many people came up to us afterwards, even at the funeral, and told us they didn’t even know she was sick. She didn’t show it. Many people didn’t even know she was wearing a wig. The very day she died, she was terribly sick, but when you’d ask her how she was doing, she’d say, ‘I’m fine.’ That’s the attitude that allowed her to live as long as she did.”

Glasscock, who is the incoming chairperson of the Chilton County Relay for Life, also lost her grandmother, Coriene Wyatt, in 1995 to breast cancer at age 69.

“My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer about the time I was asked to participate with Relay for Life,” Glasscock said. “Once I got involved, I got really excited and fired up about what we were doing.

“In January 2004, I was asked to be the team captain of the board of education team for Relay. In March of that year was when my mother was diagnosed,” she said.

Because of the family’s history with breast cancer, Glasscock worries about what the future holds for her two daughters — Morgan, 21, and Lynsie, 17.

“Oddly enough, Morgan is the reason my mother was diagnosed,” Glasscock said. “My mother hadn’t been to the doctor in about 20 years. It was time to take Morgan and I talked my mother into going with us. We made it a trio. That’s when they found it.”

Today, Glasscock preaches early detection.

“I don’t mind fussing at them,” she said, referring to those who don’t get routine mammograms and pap smears. “It’s very important. In fact, I just went a few weeks ago and I got a letter telling me that something had shown up on my mammogram. I thought, ‘It’s your turn.’ But it turned out to be nothing.

“Early detection is so important. Survival rates are so much greater when it is detected early.”

Glasscock’s mother would have died sooner, were it not for the treatments that added years to her life.

“I know treatment affects people differently, but my mother was the vision of strength and hope. She was a testament for others going through this. It was her fight that kept her here as long as she was,” Glasscock said.

Glasscock’s family owns and operates Messer’s Jewelry in Clanton, and her mother continued to work at the business while battling her cancer.

“She would go and take her chemo treatment and come back to the store,” Glasscock said.

Messer eventually developed and died from angio carcoma, “a very rare cancer caused by the radiation. She was very sick, but she didn’t let on. But, if she had not gone through those treatments, she would have been gone long before that.”

Glasscock said she is grateful to the help and information she received from the American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Web site.

“It helped me so much. Her doctor was so upfront and honest. She told me what she thought it was before the diagnosis was confirmed. I was able to research the American Cancer Society Web site and learn about what we could be dealing with. When we got the final diagnosis, we were able to take it better because we knew a little more about it.

“There are so many resources available through the American Cancer Society. Most people don’t know that you can even get gas cards to help you with going back and forth for treatments,” Glasscock said.

The American Cancer Society Web site is Cancer.org.

Watching someone you love battle cancer is a difficult life lesson, Glasscock said.

“It makes you appreciate the things you ordinarily would not spend much time thinking about, and you learn not to sweat the small stuff.