Community rallies to aide local in third battle with breast cancer

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

The Crenshaw County community rallied together on Dec. 2 at the Tom Harbin Ag Center for a fun run in honor of Lisa Kelley Garsee, who is courageously battling breast cancer for the third time. Despite challenging weather conditions, around 50 individuals participated in the event, showcasing the indomitable spirit of compassion and generosity that defines this close-knit community.

Garsee’s journey with breast cancer began in 2016, a year filled with challenges. She had just become unemployed after her job of nine years abruptly came to an end when she discovered a lump in her right breast. The subsequent diagnosis revealed invasive ductal carcinoma and a 3.8-centimeter tumor.

Her journey through treatments and surgeries showed Garsee’s remarkable resilience despite the emotional and physical toll it took.

“My cancer was aggressive, so it was treated aggressively,” Garsee said, highlighting the swift and rigorous approach taken to combat the disease.

Following chemotherapy, a lumpectomy, and the removal of her ovaries, Garsee received the welcome news on Dec. 30, 2016, that she was cancer-free. In 2019, she faced breast cancer again but managed to overcome the early diagnosis quickly with surgery and radiation.

This year has brought a third diagnosis. After receiving four treatments of two chemo drugs, Garsee will have an MRI next week to determine the next steps. Garsee has been met with unwavering support from her community and colleagues. Despite the challenges, she remains positive and is surrounded by a strong support system. Her strength and unwavering spirit serve as a beacon of inspiration for the community.

Jayden Powell, the event organizer, and Garsee’s co-worker, expressed her gratitude for the overwhelming support.

“The outpouring of love and support for Lisa is why I love living in and working in Crenshaw County,” Powell said. “So many in our community are battling cancer right now, and it warms my heart that we can come together to help support them in their fight. Although the weather forecast wasn’t on our side, we made the best of it. Thank you to all the local businesses who donated door prizes, and a huge thank you goes to Dawn Rayborn and the County Commission girls for helping me put everything together.”

In addition to the fun run, a 22” Blackstone tabletop griddle was raffled off, and Brantley resident Wayne Tew, owner of Wayne’s Wildlife Creations Taxidermy, has extended his support by donating a portion of every work order he receives through the end of hunting season to benefit Garsee.

If you would like to donate to helping Lisa and her family through these tough times, please use her Venmo @LisaJKelley-Garsee .

Mary Leigh West Hall of Luverne is also fighting breast cancer. If you’d like to assist her and her family, you can do so via Venmo-MaryLeigh-Hall or through paypal- @maryleighhall .