Betty Fulgham survived more than cancer

By CATHERINE LEGG / Community Columnist

Betty Fulgham asked me to help her share her story of cancer survival.

“Breast cancer is the No. 1 killer of women,” she said, “and early detection is so important that I want to encourage other women to get their regular mammograms and to keep a check on their bodies. If I had not found the lump in my breast, one that even the doctor could not detect, then I might not be here today.”

When her doctor could not feel the lump Betty asked for another mammogram and her own finding was confirmed. She said her first thoughts were, “I can do all things in Christ, and I can’t let it beat me. God brought me this far and I can’t quit now.”

Betty had a mastectomy followed by several months of chemotherapy. With faith, determination, good medical care and family support, she defeated the cancer and has been cancer free for 14 years.

As she and I talked about her bout with the cancer and about her life, it was quite evident that this is one more tough lady who has survived more of life’s difficulties than cancer.


Our heroin’s survival skills were honed very early in life. After only three years of marriage, her husband, Leonard Lee Fulgham, was killed in a tragic accident leaving her with three children. Betty spent his insurance money on a little brick house so that her children would have a stable home; and then she went to work to insure them a good life. Sometimes she had three jobs and did some catering on the side.

Betty explained that she added another child to the mi,x making it three boys and a girl, and that all of them went to college. Many will remember that her son, Dre, won a full football scholarship to the University of Alabama in 1999, and played wide-receiver there all four years.

In 1998, as she was heading to her last chemo treatment, she and her daughter were in a terrible head-on accident on U.S. 119. Betty was badly damaged with many broken bones and complications. She was hospitalized for three months, bedridden 11 months and told that she would never walk again.

But those doctors just didn’t know this patient very well; she overcame those injuries and now she walks in Orr Park almost every day for a mile or more, and leads a very active life.

She is enjoying a well-deserved retirement, and her days are filled with family and church activities, visiting the elderly, baking cakes (key-lime is her favorite) and inspiring other cancer victims by telling her story of survival.

Catherine Legg can be reached by email at