HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - On an Autumn evening in 2007, Judy Gill finished her workout at Merit Health Wesley Wellness Center in Hattiesburg. What happened next turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Gill.
"I was coming from the wellness center and I fell, and when I fell my breasts hit the concrete," Gill said.
Gill said her breast bruised badly and there was a lump, but as the bruised faded the lump never went away. She said she went to get a mammogram.
"And they said, 'No, something is not right here,' So, we did the biopsy and we did find cancer," Gill said.
Gill said because of the fall doctors caught the cancer early.
"We did do chemo for eight rounds, and I had a bilateral mastectomy and then I got to go on and do radiation," Gill said.
Now, Gill can call herself a breast cancer survivor.
"It's eight years since I was diagnosed," Gill said.
Within that time, Gill said her family and her work family kept her positive, Gill is the Director of Nutrition and Food Service for Merit Health Wesley.
"They never knew what my hair was going to look like when I shaved my head and wore wigs. One day I might be a red head, one day I was brown, and one day I had a different color do-rag," Gill said.
She is now practicing what she teaches in her job, and spreading what she knows.
"There is some linkage to what we eat to cancer," Gill said.
Gill added a diet low in fiber can lead to colon cancer, and a high fat diet could lead to prostate cancer and breast cancer.
"25 to 30 percent of your total calories should come from fat," Gill said.
She said we should eat a rainbow of color of fruits and vegetables which can protect our cells from damage.
"Five cups of fruits and vegetables a day are recommended, and if we increase our fruits and vegetable by that much it can reduce your risk of cancer by 40 percent," Gill said.
Gill's last bit of advice is for those going through cancer. She encouraged people to stay positive and keep a sense of humor.
"I got to sleep 20 minutes longer cause I had no hair, and I just threw a wig on! You have to think of positive aspects like that!," Gill said.