Fight like a girl

Allegany Magazine October issue features two recent survivor stories


“You have cancer.”

It’s three words no one ever wants to hear.

And yet, many in our community do.

Among them are two women who tell their personal stories in the October 2020 edition of Allegany Magazine – in a special section dedicated to breast cancer awareness.

“I can honestly tell you without a doubt there is no easy cancer. I know that some may be blessed with a diagnosis that is easier to fight because of its location or how soon it was found but some will have to fight an even harder battle,” said Abbey Green.  She is one of the two women who have written her firsthand account experiences about battling the disease.

Only three percent of women under the age of 30 are diagnosed with breast cancer. Greene is one of those three percent.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30. I had recently stopped breast-feeding my daughter and it was because of nursing her that I found a lump in my chest,” she said. “If I wasn’t nursing her, I don’t think I would’ve found it because I only experienced pain and discomfort while breastfeeding.”

Green said she felt a small lump in her breast tissue but thought she was “overthinking” until she consulted with her family physician at her annual check-up.

“A couple months went by and the spot was still there. I was due for my annual checkup with my regular doctor and it was at that time where I also asked her about it,” she said. “My doctor’s immediate reaction was wow something is definitely not right; we need to get this checked out right away.”

Jen Thomas is the other local woman who authored a story for the monthly lifestyles magazine and a sister publication to the Cumberland Times-News.  

“I pushed myself to continue to work out regularly throughout chemo. Even though I did not always feel like it, I knew that it would keep me strong physically - and mentally and I felt like I was kicking cancer’s butt just a little bit extra,” said Thomas. “Emotions ran the gamut throughout treatment and my trusty punching bag took a hefty beating some days!”

Cumberland photographer Karen Morgan of Karen Morgan Photography photographed both women for their feature stories. The photo of Thomas – replicating the famous U.S. Army issued Rosie the Riveter poster was chosen as the cover for October.

“After reading the stories of these two strong fighters, we could not think of a better image to resonate with our readers this year than that iconic image and we sought to try to duplicate it,” said Shane Riggs, managing editor of Allegany Magazine.  Finding that the image had been in the public domain since 1976, Riggs and Allegany Magazine designer Vaughn Burnheimer worked with Morgan and Thomas in developing the concept.

On the cover, Thomas – bald from recent chemotherapy treatments, can be seen wearing a pink bandana and pink T-shirt – representing the color of breast cancer awareness – but she also added a special touch that was her idea – a temporary pink ribbon tattoo on her bicep.

“Life is what we make it in the good times and the bad times! If cancer has taught me anything, it is don’t wait and don’t worry,” said Thomas.”Be yourself. Love life. Have fun. Laugh a lot. Be silly. Crank up some music and dance. And fight like a girl!”

The October 2020 edition of Allegany Magazine also features reader submitted “faces of fall” photographs, and stories about Mr. Toad’s Pottery in Lavale and  Cauldron Vintage in Frostburg. The magazine is available by subscription and also at more than 70 retail partners in Allegany, Garrett, Mineral and Bedford counties.


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