Meet Nana and Emily

Nana (Ruth)

When you first meet Nana (Ruth), you see a spunky and very active 98 year old.  Nana has outlived her husband, two sisters and her two children. She attends her church every week on Sunday and on Wednesday.  She even still mows her almost 6 acre lawn.

What you might not realize is she is an almost 30 year breast cancer survivor.  Nana was diagnosed in the early 1990’s.  At that time you were told simply, “you had breast cancer”.  The choices for treatment were very limited – surgery, chemo/no chemo, radiation/no radiation.  She had a lumpectomy, radiation treatments and hasn’t skipped a beat since.

Since 2002, Nana has participated in the Knoxville Race for the Cure.  In the last few years, she typically meets her family and friends a few hundred feet from the finish line to walk across that finish line, not only in celebration of her own survival, but also in memory of her daughter who didn’t survive.  She loves hearing her name called out as a survivor!


There is so much joy in bringing your first child home from the hospital, but also a lot of adjustment.  Your whole routine or life as you know it as changed.   You are now responsible for another little human being.  You adjust your work schedule and sleep schedule to accommodate diaper changes and late night feedings.  Imagine being four weeks in to your new adventure and you find out you have stage 3B inflammatory breast cancer.   This is Emily and Cody’s story.  We say Emily and Cody’s story because Emily said even though she was the one that had breast cancer, it impacted ALL of their new little family.

Emily doesn’t have a family history of breast cancer, and she was only 27 years old. Being a LPN, she had always taken care of other and now had  to learn to become the patient, the one that had to be taken care of and depend on others to get through the day.  Emily went through double mastectomy, 33 weeks of weekly chemo treatments and then 4 bi-weekly Red Devil treatments.    Cody, her husband had to become the backbone of their small family.  Emily’s Mom came to stay every week for the weekend after Emily’s chemo on Fridays, to help out so that they could get everything done.

Some might find this strange, but Emily said in many ways her diagnosis has been a blessing.  Emily and Cody have become stronger together, closer and are more in touch than they ever have been.  They don’t take each other or their time together for granted.  Emily has become more compassionate.  She said you don’t realize how strong you are until you are faced with the choice to die or fight.  Rhett, who is now 10 months old, has been a joy and blessing.  You can see the joy and love when you meet them Emily and Cody.

Nana and Emily are the  first two “Race Cover Girls” you will meet over the next few months.
Both want to remind us breast cancer does not discriminate.

It does not respect age –   Emily kept hearing the statement from health care workers, you are too young to be dealing with this!

Everyone’s fight is different – Nana thought when her daughter Vicki was diagnosed everything would be fine as she herself had survived it.

Join us on October 19 for our 2019 Knoxville Race for the Cure

You can either walk the 5K or 1 Mile or join Nana join Nana and her team “Fabulous Five for the Cure” near the finish line and walk across the finish line in celebration or in remembrance, click the register button below.

Emily, Cody and Rhett are celebrating Emily’s almost year of survival on Race morning.  Join their team “Fight Like Emily”  by clicking the registration button below.