Buddy Check 25: coach, community cheerleader and cancer survivor

By WEEK Producer

July 25, 2013 Updated Jul 25, 2013 at 10:45 PM CDT

NORMAL, Ill. -- She's a coach, community cheerleader and cancer survivor. Illinois Wesleyan University's Mia Smith battled breast cancer while taking her team to a national championship in 2012.

She's a winner on and off the basketball court.  Smith won the fight with her breast cancer thanks, in part to a breast self-exam.

"I think my life right now would be very different had I not stumbled upon my tumor," said Smith.

She also credits the treatment and support she received at Bloomington-Normal's Community Cancer Center.

"The Community Cancer Center is probably the reason I have life today,” said Smith. “It brought me a great commitment to being able to heal and to be able to talk about breast cancer."

"When a patient feels it within his or her heart to share the message of what we do with others, that really speaks volumes,” said Dr. Shermian Woodhouse of the Community Cancer Center.

Coach Smith and her team have made blankets for patients at the Cancer Center and even helped raise money for its expansion project.

When it is complete, the center will nearly double in size and include a state-of-the-art conference center, healing garden and café.

Smith's fund-raising doesn't end with the Community Cancer Center.

She's the honorary chair of the Bloomington-Normal race for the Cure in September. Dollars raised through the race help support research and local community health grants like the center's Pink Partner program.

To register for the Bloomington-Normal race log on to komenmemorial.org.

And don't forget to do your breast self-exam today and remind a friend to do the same.

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