LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The American Cancer Society’s Mid-South Division recently selected Staff Sgt. Crystal Gibson of the 314th Logistics Readiness Squadron aircraft services shift supervisor at Little Rock AFB, to be a Hero of Hope. She is one of only 25 cancer survivors from six states to be recognized.
The Heroes of Hope program is in its first year. Honorees will serve as spokespeople for the American Cancer Society in their communities. Those selected have triumphed over cancer, made significant volunteer contributions to the American Cancer Society and made an impact in the lives of others.
“The Heroes of Hope award provides a highly visible symbol of personal victory over the disease, as well as encourages support and participation in the programs of the Society,” says Trisha Humphrey, an American Cancer Society volunteer who helped organize the group. The Heroes of Hope represent the courageous struggle of all cancer patients as they deal with the physical and emotional aspects of their experience.
In 2007, Sergeant Gibson was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was only 30 years old. She underwent multiple surgeries and four months of chemotherapy. But Sergeant Gibson is a fighter. After all, she’s been an Airman with the U.S. Air Force for over eight years.
“I knew what to expect,” said Sergeant Gibson. “I knew I wasn’t going to die. I knew of other survivors through Relay For Life. I was able to network with them and learn about what they went through.”
Sergeant Gibson had been volunteering for Relay For Life in Jacksonville since she moved to Arkansas in 2006. Through the friendships she formed at the relay, she had a ready-made support system to help her cope with cancer. This year, she was the Honorary Survivor for the event. “I didn’t know why I was drawn to Relay For Life but, now, I know that I was brought to it for a reason,” said Sergeant Gibson.
Sergeant Gibson and the other Heroes of Hope will be officially recognized at the American Cancer Society’s upcoming Relay For Life Leadership Summit in November.
The American Cancer Society is a nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. For cancer information 24-hours-a-day, call 800-227-2345 or log onto www.cancer.org.
(Courtesy of the American Cancer Society)