Becky Hasty, 58, of Pascagoula was just 42 years old when she learned she had breast cancer. Since that time, she is dedicated to supporting the American Cancer Society in its fight against the deadly disease.
To that end she and her co-workers at Edd's Drive-In in on Market Street in Pascagoula, spend their time raising money and walking in the Relay for Life and the upcoming Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk.
"This is our cause," Hasty said, about herself and the employees, who often give up their tips to donate to the American Cancer Society. Hasty has worked at Edd's for 40 years and is now the manager.
Hasty and her team will walk in the Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk on Saturday, starting at the Biloxi Town Green. Biloxi is one of 300 communities across the nation participating in the walk. Last year's walk drew about 6,000 people, according to Liz Gaulke, community manager of special events for the Mid-south division of the American Cancer Society.
The 5K walk from the Biloxi Town Green to the IP Casino and back is to "honor those who died of breast cancer and celebrate with those who survived," Gaulke said.
It also helps create awareness of the work the American Cancer Society is doing for breast cancer patients. The walk typically raises more than $60 million a year for research, Gaulke said.
Although no fee is charged for entering the walk, participants are encouraged to create teams and raise money beforehand. That's what Hasty and her team do. They sell paper tags that are hung all over Edd's windows; they give their tips, and customers give them donations. They have raised more than $1,000 since Labor Day this year.
Hasty said when she was first diagnosed, she did not want to make a big deal out of it.
"My daughter was a senior in high school, and I did not want the focus on me being sick during that important year for her," she said.
Hasty drove herself to her chemotherapy and radiation appointments and only missed two days of work at Edd's during the whole time. "I came to work every day," Hasty said. "Every Monday I had a blood test. We were off on Wednesdays so I had my chemo on Tuesday so if I was sick I had the next day off. I wanted to have a normal year."
Edd's is a staple of the community and Hasty is a staple at Edd's so it did not take long for people in town to learn of her illness and support her. Hasty said she thinks she may have gotten sick, so she could shine a light on the cause and help others in the same situation through it.
"I think maybe God's purpose was so I could help others. I am very visible at work and people would come and talk to me," she said.
She said she only got depressed when her hair fell out following the third of her four rounds of chemotherapy.
"It was wonderful when my hair started coming back in," Hasty said.
Although while going through her treatments, Hasty wanted to "just get through it and get back to normal," she is happy to talk about her experience now.
"It doesn't bother me. I want to support this cause," she said.