Survivor pursues degree as way to serve local parish, community
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Rebecca Wilson holds her great nephew DJ. Wilson said her battle with breast cancer has made faith in God stronger and her appreciation for family greater. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Wilson

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Before breast cancer, 43-year-old Rebecca Wilson had dreamed of pursuing her Master’s in Theology; after cancer, she’s going for it.

“It was something I’ve thought about doing for 10 or 12 years,” she said. “This summer, the opportunity presented itself and I’m in a perfect position to do it, so I started.” Wilson is taking online classes through the Augustine Institute in Denver and is excited to see how her studies will help her better serve those in her parish at St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church, 6455 Brook Park Dr.

Wilson is active in the music ministry at St. Patrick, singing in the choir and cantoring during services. Throughout her cancer battle, she looked to her faith in God and her church family for support, encouragement and prayer.

“My faith kept me going,” she said. “I realized often that even if something is really difficult, that’s just a moment, I could get through the moment. Even if it’s going to continue to be bad, my faith was that God would get me through, whatever his plans.”

In 2010, Wilson first found a lump in her breast and immediately had it examined. She was advised that it was most likely benign and watched it closely for two years. Then, something triggered in her that caused her to want to be more aggressive, so she pursued testing.

“Before I could even tell the doctor, my radiologist said ‘We need to do something more,’” Wilson said. She got an MRI, a biopsy and within one week received her diagnosis: HER2-positive in one breast. She chose to have a bilateral mastectomy followed by reconstruction.

Wilson received chemotherapy at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers and radiation therapy at Penrose Cancer Center, part of the Centura Health Cancer Network, delivering advanced, integrated cancer care across Colorado and western Kansas. She felt incredibly supported by the Penrose staff, including her oncologist, Dr. Sue Kim, and breast surgeon, Dr. Toni Green-Cheatwood.

Wilson has been done with her treatments for just under a year, and she said it’s been an entire year of celebrating anniversaries and thanking God.

“I’ve got a better, stronger faith after this experience,” Wilson said. “I know God is going to protect me and see me through whatever is going on.”

Pikes Peak Newspapers, Editor

Hannah Blick has lived in the Pikes Peak region for six years. She studied journalism at Kansas State University and enjoys biking, skiing and hiking in the Rockies.

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