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Cancer survivor Horton ‘˜prayed, stayed busy’

By Kay S. Pedrotti Vivadon Horton has lived in Barnesville all her life and says she wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. ’There’s no substitute for having family and friends around when you get that cancer diagnosis,’ she said. ‘I guess that was the most shocking part for me — just finding out I had breast cancer, even though my mother and sister had died of breast cancer. But I had kept up with mammograms that didn’t pick up the first lump. I thought I had escaped it.’ Her first bout with cancer was in 1991, when she had a mastectomy and chemotherapy. Then it returned in 2004 ‘in the other breast and in 13 nodes, which all had to be removed,’ she said. Through it all, she never stopped ‘doing what I would be doing if I hadn’t had cancer,’ she said. That included working at the club owned by the Horton family, working at William Carter company, doing ministry at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church where she was youth choir director, cooking for the annual All-Denomination Choir concert, serving as assistant church secretary for several years and for 16 years as treasurer. She’s still on the Usher Board. Vivadon and her husband, Lamar commissioner Bennie Horton, have been married for 53 years and have two sons — Ronald, who manages the club and joins his father in musical appearances around the country, and Raphael, who is employed at Troy University in Alabama. Bennie and Vivadon have five grandchildren ‘but no great-grands yet,’ Vivadon said. Bennie retired from Continental Tire in 2006, leaving a management position after 40 years of working at the company. Asked how she got her unusual first name, Vivadon replied, ‘My mother named me after a lady in Thomaston. I guess it didn’t become a popular name, because I’ve never met another one.’ On the subject of family, she has fond memories of her late Aunt Bessie Smith, who brought meals to the Hortons’ ‘every single day — I never had to worry about something to eat.’ Through all her surgeries and treatments, she said, ‘I was not sick, didn’t take any pain pills, just kept doing all my routines.’ She did lose her hair, but said she never wore wigs: ‘Those people who did not know I had cancer were very surprised to be greeted by a bald-headed woman.’ It is faith, perseverance and regular medical attention that got her through everything, Vivadon said. Everyone should know their own bodies, she said, and women should do breast self-exams frequently. ‘And if you do find something, turn it over to God. I believe the Lord brought me through so I know I have other work to do. I’m not going anywhere until God comes to get me,’ she said.

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