CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. (WZZM) -- For over 15 years on the 13th of every month, WZZM's Friends for Life campaign has reminded women about the importance of breast health.
11 years after we featured a breast cancer survivor and mother from Cedar Springs, we have an update on her health. We first met Jodie Mellem in 2003; she was a young mother diagnosed with breast cancer and her treatment was about to begin. But then, another shock: she was pregnant.
"I had a lot to live for, a beautiful family," said Mellem, who was advised to terminate her pregnancy and concentrate on fighting her aggressive cancer.
"I knew that with our faith, abortion was not an option and that we were going to give this baby life." Jodie remembered seeing a Friends for Life story about an Ionia mother who had breast cancer while she was pregnant. "She shared her story and was able to keep her baby and receive treatment for her cancer, and I called the doctor that she had been using and he said he would treat me."
Now almost 11 years later, that baby is a happy, healthy 4th grader. And like her mother, she's already a fighter.
"She's doing some wrestling, she's just a sweet little girl with a lot of spunk," says Mellem,
Jodie's breast cancer has returned twice over the years, and both times she battled back and is considered cancer free. "I think it's important to do a monthly breast self exam, not always just to look for lumps, but to detect changes," said Mellem. "Because it might not necessarily be a big lump you feel there, you may start feeling some changes and it's really important to do a breast self exam."
Rebecca's middle name is a reminder of how strong this family is. "Rebecca Faith Mellem. It's because of our faith in God that took us through this journey and our faith that we knew we could have her and everything would be fine."