Get Pink: Metro mother goes from breast cancer to helping fund new cancer center
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
In 2002, Jill Greene was just 33 years old. She was a new mother of two young kids. Then, the unthinkable happened.
"I had a 2 year old and 3 year old at home and I felt a large lump in my left breast," Greene said.
Greene went to several doctors, only to be told the lump was nothing.
"Because I had been having babies and breast feeding and so many changes it was easily overlooked," Greene said.
But, it was breast cancer. The devastating news was delivered by the doctors at Mercy Hospital.
"I knew something was wrong. People say cancer is not painful, mine was very painful. You immediately think that means you're going to die and thinking I'm not going to be here for my kids," Greene said.
Luckily for Greene, those doctors and the constant search for answers, saved her life. 15 years later, she's cancer free. Greene says it was that moment she knew she wanted to help the hospital that helped to save her life. She went from patient, to chair of the foundation board, taking on the project of raising $70 million to help build a brand new cancer center.
"When they came to me and said were going to build a cancer center I was like 'Oh my Gosh Yes!" Greene said.
Today, the Coletta Center is a reality, and has all breast cancer treatment services in one building. It was Greene that helped create it's design, that's specific to the needs of patients. Something she knows first hand. She designed everything from the gift shop, to the cafe, to the exam rooms.
The Coletta Center is now the only cancer center in Oklahoma to be chosen to help women, who otherwise couldn't afford care. Mercy Hospital recently partnered with Vice President Joe Biden, in the Cancer Moonshot initiative. The idea is to do 10 years worth of research in just five years time. They are now doubling the amount of free mammograms through "Project Early Detection".
"To be able to provide services to women that otherwise couldn't afford a mammogram or treatment that's huge, that's huge that we can do that right here in Oklahoma City. I think it's something that's going to draw people in from all over the state and even beyond Oklahoma," Greene said.
And for all young women, who feel something is out of the ordinary. Greene has this message for you:
"If you feel like something is really not right you're going to be the one that has to go out there and seek the answers whether you want to hear what the answers are or not."