Fighting breast cancer

Survivor mixed faith and positive attitude

Cindy Soderberg of Marshalltown is wearing, displaying, and is surrounded by many gifts received from friends and family during her battle with cancer. Soderberg gave the keynote address at the UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown Foundation’s Sixth Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon Thursday at Elmwood Country Club

Cindy Soderberg of Marshalltown is wearing, displaying, and is surrounded by many gifts received from friends and family during her battle with cancer. Soderberg gave the keynote address at the UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown Foundation’s Sixth Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon Thursday at Elmwood Country Club

A new tradition is being made in a community where tradition is esteemed.

The new kid on the block is the UnitedPoint Health Foundation’s Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon.

And for the second consecutive year, the event drew nearly a full house for its sixth annual event with “Courage over Cancer” the theme.

And for the second consecutive year, a local woman delivered an inspirational faith-driven message of courage and hope.

Cindy Soderberg of Marshalltown delivered a heartfelt and uplifting keynote address to approximately 220 attendees Thursday.

The once-retired educator with 33 years service, but now in her 10th year actively substituting in the Marshalltown Community School District, Soderberg told the audience her faith mixed with positive attitude made the day-to-day fight against the insidious disease possible.

“One of my doctors told me people of faith who have a positive attitude have some of the best chances of surviving,” she said.

Soderberg also singled out her three daughters, their husbands, grandchildren friends, co-workers and co-volunteers as critcal in the fight.

A strong woman of faith, Soderberg said she followed Rev. Billy Graham’s advice of reading five Psalms a day. She continued the habit during her cancer battle and continues to do so.

In recent years she has selected a Psalm number which coincided with her birthday.

Soderberg mixed in several doses of humor, joking with the crowd about her request to spouse Larry that he shave her head after doses of chemotherapy was making her hair fall out.

“As you can tell Larry has experience with shaved heads,” as she pointed over to him at a nearby table, himself with a clean-shaven pate.

Soderberg also told of letting some of her six grandchildren see and touch her bald head.

When not substitute teaching or spending time with her children and grandchildren, she and Larry are lay pastors at the local Vineyard Church.

Cindy Soderberg is also a volunteer at Iowa River Hospice.

All luncheon proceeds will be directed to the Foundation’s PREVENT program, which provides life-saving mammograms for the underinsured or uninsured residing in UnityPoint-Health-Marshalltown’s coverage area.

Two free mammogram clinics have taken place this year, both with the cooperation of the Radiologists of McFarland Clinic, PC.

In 2013, an estimated 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed among U.S. women, as well as an estimated 64,640 additional cases of situ breast cancer.

An estimated 39,620 American women died from breast cancer in 2013, with only lung cancer accounting for more cancer deaths in women.

Breast cancer incidence rates are highest in non-Hispanic white women, followed by African-American women and are lowest among Asian/Pacific Islander women, according to the American Cancer Society.

For more information about the PREVENT program, contact 641-754-5005.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com