Tammy Lauver hung up the phone and didn’t know what to do. Stunned, she walked into her boss’ office and told him the news.
In December of 2011, a mammogram revealed a tumor in Lauver’s breast. The diagnosis was cancer. Lauver went into shock, but her boss’ words comforted her. He told her she would get through it.
She underwent a mastectomy in February 2012 and returned to work the same week she started chemotherapy. Lauver’s coworkers formed what they called the “lunch bunch,” taking turns spending their lunch hour with Lauver, making sure she ate regularly and cheering her through rough patches in her treatment.
Her life followed a routine circling around sickness. She appreciated the support, but it was exhausting always being a patient, someone needing tending.
Until October 2012, when an invitation to an All-Star Survivors Celebration at Redskins Park introduced her to a new of survivors celebrating the time they had on earth. She spent quality time with receiver Josh Morgan, whom she called a big teddy bear.
In 2013, she knew she had to come back. The women needed her support.
“When you’re in a setting like this, you get out among all these other people, and it’s really nice because there are other cancer patients, but we’re not treated like cancer patients here. We’re treated like people who just seem to have a good time,” she said.
“I want to be there for the next person. I want to help the next person make it through, and I want to help make sure that there’s a cure so that there is no next person.”
On Tuesday, Lauver wore a No. 12 Redskins jersey, not for Kirk Cousins, but for the year she beat her disease. She brought along 40 toboggan hats she knitted as a gift.
In each wrapped hat, Lauver included a note saying shes’ still alive, she has her hair back, she’s strong, and they can be strong, too.
She’s in the process of starting a non-profit to distribute the hats, quilts and seatbelt covers she knits for breast cancer patients coming out of surgery. Of course her friends at the office pitched in money and materials.
“They’re just people, too,” Lauver said. “It’s nice that you can get to see that side of them. That’s what I really appreciate.”
Except for some intermittent cramping in her chest, Lauver said she’s 100 percent recovered. Her mission is to find women struggling with breast and lift them up to enjoy the gift of another living day.
“One thing that cancer tells you is that life is too short,” she said. “You gotta do the things that you enjoy. You’re lucky to have gotten this far, so you better help the people behind you.”
Tags: Alfred Morris, breast cancer, Josh Morgan, redskins, Robert Griffin III, Survivor All-Stars Celebration, Tammy Lauver
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