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Survivor not taking gift of giving for granted

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jay Ponder
  • 908th AW Public Affairs
When one experiences a traumatic life event, it can either strengthen or weaken personal resolve to face such an event's challenges and give hope and inspiration to others.

As Airmen of the 908th trained and took care of regular military requirements during the January UTA, few were aware of one Airman's overcoming one of life's greatest ordeals and her long journey back.

The LifeSouth blood mobile made one of its frequent stops at the 908th, and while many Airmen made donations, Senior Master Sgt. Martha Roy, a survivor of breast cancer, chemotherapy and multiple surgeries, hasn't been able to give for five years.

With an ear-to-ear grin, Roy expressed to LifeSouth technicians how happy she was to once again be allowed the privilege of donating blood, and speaking about the experience came easy for her while giving thanks for her recovery.

"I thank the Lord every day for the support and encouragement I have received from family and friends," she said.

There had been dark days to face in 2007 as she learned about her cancer, which had already robbed her of loved ones, and began treatments.
"My oldest sister had died of breast cancer in 1995 and my middle brother died of pancreatic cancer in 2005."

Knowing what was in store, Roy's husband Andrew knew it would be a team effort, and being retired, he would have the necessary time.
"It was a 'walk' we had to do together," he said.

"As I look back on when I was first diagnosed with cancer, it became a long road ahead of me that had to be walked," she explained, "Once it was confirmed I had cancer, I was immediately scheduled for various surgeries."

But the surgeries were just the beginning. Along with the surgeries came chemotherapy treatments and five years of having to take Arimidex, used to treat breast cancer by lowering estrogen hormone levels in an effort to shrink a tumor and slow its growth.

"Even though the medicine was necessary, it still had negative effects such as body aches and pains, upset stomach, weakness and thinning hair," she said.
"Throughout the whole thing, I asked myself if I would be able to overcome what she did," Andrew said. "But we're Christians __ all of our strength came from above."

Friends and family also provided encouragement and support.

The 30-year veteran of the Air Force and Air Force Reserve said she finally learned of her victory in December.

Roy is still facing obstacles to allow her body to heal, but she's feeling almost completely back to normal and has a positive attitude.

"I was overwhelmed with such joy and excitement," Roy summed up, "that I had finally crossed the finish line and the Lord gave me the strength to be victorious."
Now, she's back at her job with the 908th Force Support Squadron doing what she does best, staying in the thick of things.

And in regard to his wife donating blood as soon as she was able, Andrew said, "This is her way to help give back, but she could not until the Arimidex was over. What better thing to give than your blood if it's going to save someone else's life?"

So there she was sprawled out on the sofa seat of the blood mobile still grinning with happiness. The gift of life had been returned to her, and now, she can once again give a gift of life to others.