LIMA — Patricia Carter has been to nearly 100 breast cancer treatment and appointments for her daughter, Ericka Boddie, since Boddie’s diagnosis in August 2017 at the age of 37.
Carter is now being recognized by the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research as a Step up for Stefanie’s Champions. But for Carter, a cancer survivor herself, it all falls under her job description as a mother.
“Literally she’s been to every single appointment. The last time I checked, which would have been in January, she had attended 30 radiation treatments, two rounds of chemo, and at that point, I had maybe a total of about 80 or 90 appointments between treatments, she didn’t miss a single one,” Boddie said.
Having been through it herself, Carter said hearing her daughter’s diagnosis was like an “out of body experience.”
“I thought back to when I first heard it, but it was 10 times the magnitude because this is my child,” she explained. “I remember her saying this is not a death sentence. After she said that, I looked at her and my other daughter, and I was like we can do this. Whatever left me came back, and when it came back, it came back strong, and I guess that’s where everything she’s talking about came back into me.”
One moment that stuck out to both of them throughout the journey was an instance when Carter had to help Boddie shower.
“I couldn’t shower alone, she literally at one point got in the shower with me, fully dressed,” Boddie explained. “I think that was when I realized how helpless I was and just how overwhelmed I was. I told her thank you at that time, and she looked at me and said you don’t have to thank me for being a mom.”
The two are now able to share a laugh about the emotional moment.
“I’m a cancer survivor so I wear a weave or a wig, and she was like ‘Mom, your hair!’ I was like, ‘Nope it’s a wig, take it off,’” Carter said.
In September 2018, Boddie had a recurrence. Meanwhile, her grandfather was in active kidney failure and doing dialysis at home, which Carter was also helping with.
“She would leave here after doing all of that in the morning, go do a similar process with my grandpa, do all of his dialysis, and then she would come back here in the drainings and do the dressings and changes all over again,” Boddie explained. “She was really caring for both of us at the same time.”
To nominate her mother, Boddie had to submit a written essay how Carter has supported her during her battle with cancer. After she got the call from the foundation, Boddie shared the letter and news with her champion.
“As I read it, I didn’t realize how much had transpired,” Carter said. “It’s not so much the champion award, which I am so grateful and honored for that, but to read that, to me that was the best gift ever.”
In December, Boddie was officially declared cancer free. She completed all of her treatments at The Ohio State University, where the Spielman Fund was founded.
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.