Stephanie Bailey: life, love, sports, faith, breast cancer

Published 2:42 pm Tuesday, December 4, 2018

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We all know that life can change in an instant. Stephanie Bailey discovered this but with her involvement in faith and sports providing a sense of normalcy she was greater than her sudden unexpected change.

September 7, 2017 Bailey received news that no one wants to hear. After feeling a lump in one of her breasts she went to a specialist and they dropped the heavy burden that a cancer diagnosis carries. Making it worse was the fact that the diagnosis was for Triple Negative Breast Cancer which is one of the most aggressive forms of the disease.

Bailey immediately turned to loved ones and she informed her husband Rex first and foremost. His reaction was all positive as he said, “Stephanie, I am so sorry. We will make it through and God will provide.”

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Still, Stephanie struggled with the diagnosis up until the very day she met with a team of specialists, September 15.

After many prayers from many people Stephanie had a dream that changed her faith forever. It was at 5:00 a.m. during the morning of the team meeting she experienced something almost indescribable, “I woke up and could feel something so strong and it was only in my affected breast that I could feel this. It felt like something was being loosened and pulled from my body. I was so affected that I dropped to my knees and said no matter what happens from here on out I will praise God through it.”

Feeling a sense of relief, Bailey went back to her doctors and they said to do everything just like she did before and that’s where the sports family began lifting her spirits. They had rallied around her from her diagnosis but it was when she went to games that she still felt most normal. Cheering her kids on and yelling at bad officials gave her the peace of normalcy she needed. The sports family provided meals, started selling shirts and bracelets and more. The members of Soldier’s Memorial Middle School saw that her family had a meal each time she had an appointment. The basketball benefit game at SMMS was a huge success and filled the gymnasium with friends she knew and those she didn’t really know. She knew then how lucky she was and that the sports family was huge and very supportive.

Bailey said, “The sports family and SMMS would do anything for us they could and that made me feel very blessed.”

As Bailey moved closer to an unknown treatment she was understandably skittish and skeptical about it. She had a fear of the unknown but understood she had a struggle coming her way. She had to go through 20 weeks of chemotherapy followed by 19 days of radiation. When asked to describe the treatment she responded, “I had a lot of sickness throughout and it started from day one. Later on in the treatment cycle I began looking sick but I didn’t let the dreaded Red Devil treatment bring me down. It wasn’t easy but I got more blessings out of it than heartache.”

When asked about how she replied to people that asked about her how she was doing she added, “There were times that I really wasn’t feeling that well or struggling that day but I would smile and tell them I was fine.”

Along with the treatment worries there was the terrifying aspect of worrying about paying for treatment while going from two incomes to one. Again, the sports family and people all over stepped up and provided for her family. “It was almost every day that I went to the mailbox and had cards with checks and gift cards. The SMMS benefit and other fundraising let me know how loved my family was. Rex’s work allowed him to change his schedule to take me to my treatments. I was just so thankful and have no words that can express my appreciation. I can’t thank everyone enough and my entire family so appreciated it. From SMMS to Clinch Powell and all the churches that supplied meals or whatever made us feel so blessed and really provided before we had the chance to worry. God had a plan.”

Bailey went to her scan after her final treatment and when she heard the news that the scan was clear she could have shouted the house down. “My prayer was when I came in that day that all of it would be gone and God would have provided me one of his many miracles. After the scan I was told that it looked like my miracle had happened because there was nothing in my scan. I started crying and thanked the Lord and the entire staff at Thompson’s Cancer Survival Center.”

She went on to add, “Faith is hard to put into words but there is power in prayer and without all of them I would have never made it through. Your faith can heal you, you just have to believe.”

Stephanie Bailey had the backing of a very helpful sports family and prayers of support from all over that helped her put her faith before her sickness. When asked what she wanted everyone to know she replied, “I want them to see this Bible verse, Isaiah 53:5. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”