Waynesboro native survives breast cancer diagnosis nearly 30 years ago

On a fateful day in November 1993, Abbie Hayes’s life changed forever.
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 4:43 AM CDT
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WAYNESBORO, Miss. (WDAM) - On a fateful day in November 1993, Abbie Hayes’s life changed forever.

After her daughter said she was having chest pains, Hayes wanted to help her calm down and went for a routine doctor’s visit to show her daughter she had nothing to fear.

“I said, ‘I’ll go and have a mammogram,’” Hayes said. “That’s how I found out I had cancer.”

She was working full time and taking care of her grandchild and could not believe her health was in jeopardy.

“I knew of cancer, but I could not put a face on nobody that had cancer until I had it.” she said.

Hayes went to a facility in Jackson for a second opinion, where the doctor confirmed that she had breast cancer.

Shortly thereafter, she was advised to make peace with her family as she was not expected to see the next year.

“Three to six months to live,” Hayes said. “And I didn’t have time for that.”

Although she wanted to keep working, Hayes eventually would opt for surgery and chemotherapy.

While the treatment took its toll, she never stopped moving.

“The more I moved around, the more chemo went into my body,” she said. “Like if I got out and mowed the lawn, I would move around a lot, and all the chemo would come in my body.”

During her treatment, she met other patients, and they formed a support group.

Now, nearly 30 years later, Hayes has become an example to those in similar situations.

“It’ll be late mornings, and when I say late mornings, I’m talking about one or two o’clock in the morning,” Hayes said. “You just can’t hold it no more, and you want to talk to somebody. That’s what I’m here for.”

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