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Celebrating Life: Local woman prepares for 40 years of being cancer-free

Beverly Pournelle knows what it means to be a survivor.
For nearly 40 years, Beverly has been a cancer survivor.
She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in February of 1979. The cancer metastasized to her right arm and lymph nodes. After the diagnosis, she underwent a single mastectomy.
Then, in 2012, the cancer came back. She was diagnosed with lung cancer, and subsequently lost two-thirds of her right lung.
“I didn’t expect to live,” she said. “Not many people at that time survived a cancer diagnosis. I kept waiting to die, but God had different plans for me, different lessons for me to learn.”
When asked about those lessons that she has learned, Beverly says “first and foremost,” she has learned how to pray. She recalls a conversation that she had with a friend who guided her on how to pray. “I went from folding my hands and saying, ‘amen,’ when I was done, to opening my hands at the end of the prayer and turning it over to God,” she said.
Secondly, Beverly says she has learned how to hear God’s voice. She recalls a specific time when a feeling of peace “Flooded” her and she heard a voice, telling her that she was going to be okay. “I know it sounds crazy, but I heard God’s voice,” she said. “I know what it means to be a miracle.”
Beverly is a retired teacher. During her 42 years with the Colleton County School District, she taught at Walterboro High School and at Thunderbolt Career and Technology Center. She also served as an administrator at Colleton County Middle School. She is also the mother of two daughters.
In February of 2019, she will celebrate her 40th year of living after receiving a cancer diagnosis. She is looking back on her life, and she is asking people to also become more supportive of people in her community who are fighting the disease. “I had to be spared for a reason,” she said. “I kept waiting to die, and it was two years later on New Year’s Eve. My husband and I had gone to visit his family and we were dancing on New Year’s Eve. I knew in that moment, when we were dancing, that I was going to be okay,” she said.
Beverly is involved in the local Colleton County Relay for Life event. “When I had cancer, they did very little, as far as reaching out to people with cancer,” she said. “It wasn’t as publicized as it is today. People are surviving it now more than they did before.”
She is also asking her neighboring and friends in the county to get more involved with awareness and support of people who are fighting cancer. Additionally, she is encouraging others to do self-checks. “I want people to know that three months before I was diagnosed, I had a complete physical exam. I did a self-check later, and I found the lump,” she said. “You have to be aware of your body, and you have to be self-aware.” For more information on self-checks, contact your physician. For more information on how to participate in the local Relay for Life efforts, visit www.acsevents.org.

Heather Walters (1487 Posts)