StrongHer: Mable Perry’s Story

Even in the face of unimaginable adversity, Mable Perry has never backed down from a challenge. That was especially true when she was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 11 and she underwent a bone marrow transplant.

By the time she was 19, her doctors informed her that her cancer was in remission and she was released from their care. But at the age of 34, cancer returned to her life. This time, it affected her mother, Mable (whom she is named after). Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and Perry immediately became her caretaker. Her mother passed a few months after being diagnosed.

Four months her mother’s death, Perry was diagnosed with Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in March 2021. Perry underwent chemotherapy for six months. In December 2021, Perry had a double mastectomy as a result of her own breast cancer diagnosis and her family’s medical history.

Perry, now 35, admitted that at times, she felt overwhelmed because of the timing of her diagnosis and she was still grieving the loss of her mother. However, she persisted.

“When I had leukemia, my mother was there for me,” said Perry, who serves as the community liaison in Birmingham Councilor Hunter Williams’ office. “But she was not there for me this time. I went through grief counseling and that helped a lot because I was so down about the situation and wondered why God allowed this to happen to me a second time.”

So, what did God tell her?

“He wants me to share my story with people because often times, we give up at our breaking points,” said Perry, who is a graduate of Huffman High School and Samford University. “But when we get to the breaking point, there is glory on the other side.”

Today, the Echo Highlands resident continues to volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. She also writes about her cancer walks on her Mabella personal blog on Facebook. On April 10, she will be one of the cancer survivors to speak during the Cancer Awareness Network’s annual event at the Harbert Center.

Given all that she’s been through, helping shepherd people through difficult times is now what she’s been called to do. She refuses to let her cancer diagnosis define her or have power over her life.

“Different people have reached out to me about going through breast cancer, and I’ve been there to be their cheerleader,” she said. #StrongHer #WomensHistoryMonth

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