By Rachel McDaniel
Kathryn Claxton Green of Barnesville is leading Relay for Life efforts in Lamar as she celebrates her own cancer survival after four months of chemo, 30 rounds of radiation and two surgeries. She also continues to remember her mom’s survival story and encourages others to donate in her memory at https://shorturl.at/esNU1.
“This is why I Relay. My amazing mom. She underwent extreme surgery, radiation and chemotherapy in 2009. She was told she could be looking at three months to live if treatment wasn’t an option and she was an 11-year cancer survivor (and thriver),” said Kathryn. “In 2010, she led the Relay For Life survivor lap in a cart due to being too weak to walk, and in 2016 she was the survivor speaker. She used her story to talk to anyone she could. She once said she wasn’t sure why God had her go through her battle, so she would take each hospital visit, conversation or interaction as if that was the reason. I adopted the same philosophy through my journey. I want to see 100 luminaria bags at Relay saying, ‘In memory of 11-year cancer survivor, Anne Claxton.’”
She and her husband Josh Green were recently interviewed for a TV news story to share the importance of learning about fertility preservation for cancer victims who are considering having children in the future. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021 at age 33, the same year she and her husband were planning to start a family. There are grants to help others who are facing cancer diagnoses with the cost of fertility treatments.
“I turned to the American Cancer Society countless times to research my diagnosis or treatment plan. I desperately searched for stories and people like me. The funds I’m raising will sustain critical research and provide services for people trying to cope with their cancer experience,” she said.
Chemotherapy drugs have the potential for life-altering effects on fertility, so one of Kathryn’s first major conversations with her City of Hope of Newnan care team was about egg preservation options.
With the clock ticking, her care team planned chemo treatments while she scheduled an in vitro fertilization (IVF) egg retrieval. She was able to preserve her fertility through five healthy DNA-tested embryos. She started chemotherapy treatments just 8 days after the egg retrieval and even though she will be on hormone therapy until she’s 37, she and Josh hope to start a family when she is finally cleared.
“Since May 2021, I had 91 days filled with doctor appointments, hospital visits and specialty treatments. When I was first diagnosed, I pulled out my calendar so see which day would work for me to come back, my doctor laughed. Cancer doesn’t work like that. My calendar was completely cleared, and cancer treatment became the focus. If you think you don’t have time for a scan, you really don’t have time for treatment,” said Kathryn. “Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women. Early detection is critical. Early detection saved my life. Make an appointment this week!”
Josh and Kathryn enjoy traveling and have visited 47 states in the past 7 years. The couple hopes to visit the remaining three states this year. Despite their battle with cancer, they still make the best of things and enjoy their lives in Lamar and elsewhere on trips.
“We’re going to stay positive,” said Josh. “Life is full of struggles and curve balls and what you make of it is what you get.”