Hand named a Hero of Hope

Published 2:53 pm Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Amid all the doctor’s appointments, surgeries, treatments and pain many cancer patients endure, a cancer survivor – a living example of success in surmounting this relentless disease – can provide hope where hope may be running out.


Linda Hand of Clanton is a two-time breast cancer survivor, and she has begun planting her seeds of hope in Chilton County and surrounding areas by sharing her survival story as a 2011 Hero of Hope for the American Cancer Society.

“The Heroes of Hope program provides a highly visible symbol of personal victory over the disease, as well as encourages support and participation in the programs of the Society,” said Keisha Pittman, an American Cancer Society 2010 Hero of Hope and co-chairwoman of the 2011 Heroes of Hope program.

According to an American Cancer Society news release, Hand was one of 20 cancer survivors and caregivers selected for the Society’s Mid-South Division, which includes Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

She was one of two American Cancer Society volunteers selected from Alabama this year.

“It was such an honor for me to be chosen as one,” Hand said. “I like to give back to other patients if I can. It does give me a good feeling to get up and talk and let them know that there is life after cancer.”

Hand turned to the American Cancer Society for information and support after her diagnosis, and now she is returning the favor.

Hand has served as an ambassador for the American Cancer Society at two Celebration on the Hill Relay For Life events in Washington, D.C. She has also served as chairwoman on the Relay For Life planning and survivorship committees.

“I have been a Reach to Recovery volunteer, when they partner a breast cancer survivor with a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient,” she said. “Hero of Hope has given me a different feeling toward that. I feel that I do reach out to them more.”

Hand said she is blessed to be cancer-free now, and as a Hero of Hope, she has already had three opportunities to share her experiences.

“It is a year-long commitment, but it is a lifetime honor,” Hand said. “I will always be a Hero of Hope.”

The Heroes of Hope program is in its fourth year. Honorees will serve as spokespeople for the American Cancer Society in their communities, the news release said. Those selected have triumphed over cancer, made significant volunteer contributions to the American Cancer Society and made an impact in the lives of others.

“Hearing their stories makes a statement that progress is being made in cancer research and prevention, and that there is hope for the future for people who are diagnosed,” said Lee Adkins, co-chairwoman of the 2011 Heroes of Hope program, and a 2010 Hero of Hope.

For more information about the American Cancer Society, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit Cancer.org.