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    One Family's Journey on Cancer Survivors Day

    Cancer Survivors Day

    Photo By Audra Flanagan | Heather Souders, spouse of Tech. Sgt Jeremy Souders, 148th Fighter Wing poses with her...... read more read more



    Story by Audra Flanagan 

    148th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

    In June of 2018, Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Souders was two-months into his fourth overseas deployment when he got the call his wife, Heather, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. Souders, an Avionics Technician, has served with the 148th Fighter Wing for 13-years.

    Heather, a nurse and mother of three girls, is accustomed to military life. When she’s not chasing kids, working as a nurse and photographer, Heather volunteers as a Key Volunteer with the 148th Fighter Wing. Key Volunteers provide peer to peer support to Airmen and families, especially during times of deployment. Key volunteers are often the communications link between military families and command staff during deployments or other periods of difficulty. The tables were quickly turned, and now the Souders’ Family needed support.

    Tech. Sgt. Souders returned home shortly after receiving the news to help care for Heather. Over the next several months, Heather endured multiple rounds of chemotherapy and countless physician appointments. Heather kept her sense of humor and used to keep family and friends informed. In December, major surgery followed. In January 2019, Heather wrote her final Caring Bridge journal titled “Nice try Cancer, but I’m still here.”

    Although it’s been months since her last surgery, the fight continues. She continues to have chemotherapy treatments and will eventually have reconstructive surgery. Heather said “I have good days and bad days. I’m feeling better as far as the sickness goes, but it’s hard emotionally as my body changed drastically in a short amount of time. I try to stay positive and see the humor which helps me cope.”

    “The support from the 148th has been astounding and humbling” said Tech. Sgt. Souders. “People have made meals, organized meaningful events, called, and visited. I can wholeheartedly say this would have been a more turbulent ride without our extended family from the base.”

    When asked what advice she’d give to others who face a cancer diagnosis, Heather recommends “keep a notebook because there’s a lot of information that comes at you, make sure you have a support system, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

    June 3rd is Cancer Survivors Day. This day is meant to demonstrate that life after a cancer diagnosis can be a reality.



    Date Taken: 06.03.2019
    Date Posted: 06.03.2019 16:13
    Story ID: 325189
    Location: DULUTH, MN, US 

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