By Julia Ledoux, Special to the Belvoir EagleOctober 13, 2011
A Belvoir cancer survivor was honored at a Manassas City council meeting to receive a proclamation naming October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month on behalf of the American Cancer Society.
Pauline Hunter, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in September of 2007 and serves as chief of the Fort Belvoir Public Affairs Office's Community Relations Branch, accepted the proclamation Monday.
JoAnn Murchison, community manager for the American Cancer Society's South Atlantic Division, called Hunter the perfect person to receive the proclamation.
"She works diligently on behalf of the cause and I knew she had a battle with breast cancer," Murchison explained. "Working with the City of Manassas on this proclamation, I couldn't think of anyone better to receive it, as a volunteer, as a person of faith who has gone through this battle, she's my heart, so I thought of her."
Pauline Hunter said there were several things that helped her through her battle with breast cancer four years ago: Her unwavering faith in God; and the love and support of her Family and friends, including a group at Fort Belvoir that she's dubbed her posse.
"I had a posse and the posse, one day at lunch time went with me to get my hair cut so I could donate it to Locks of Love; and the posse, a representative of the posse, would call me, email me, to check on me," she said.
Hunter said that her Fort Belvoir Family rallied around her during her fight against the disease. Public Affairs Director Don Carr, Hunter's boss, donated two weeks of leave so she could recuperate after receiving treatment.
"There were others at Fort Belvoir, employees, some I knew, some I didn't, who donated leave so I had enough leave to carry me through the active treatment phase, which was four months," she said.
The proclamation, which was passed unanimously by the Manassas City Council, reads in part that one in eight women have a risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. It also notes that getting tested regularly and early detection are the best ways for women to lower their risk of dying from the disease.
Hunter said she was humbled to receive the proclamation on behalf of the ACS.
"I think about the Happy Rockefellers, I think about the Betty Fords, who had the courage to come out with cancer and take it out of hiding so people would not feel so ashamed," she continued. "We celebrate more birthdays because of that."
Hunter said she's found a calling with her volunteer work with the ACS. She's also hopeful that a vaccine or cure will be found that will make breast cancer a thing of the past.
"There's hope that when I leave the job that I am in that will give me that sense of purpose, and that's to make sure my daughters, their friends, will have a better opportunity," she said.
Members of the Manassas City Walkers will participate in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Oct. 29 in Washington, D.C.