We are celebrating the countdown to North Texas Giving Day by sharing stories of women in our North Texas community who have been affected by breast cancer. Their hope and courage will inspire you. Today, we meet MJ Pritchard, Vice President of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, and sister of TWO women diagnosed with breast cancer.
A breast cancer diagnosis tends to have a ripple effect, taking no mercy on those who encounter its path. It affects the friends, family, and coworkers of the patient too. MJ experienced this ripple effect when both of her sisters were diagnosed with breast cancer. MJ is a determined woman and a fearless leader. It is no wonder that these character traits have enabled her to remain hopeful while providing help to her two sisters. We first met MJ when her daughter’s volleyball team hosted a fundraiser in our honor, and she continues to support us in Helping Women Now. We chatted with MJ. Her insights will encourage you, especially if you too are the loved one of a breast cancer patient or survivor.
NBCF: Introduce yourself!
MJ: MJ Pritchard, 58, Vice President of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce. I have lived in Frisco since 2002, worked in Frisco since 1998, and lived in the Metroplex since 1997.
NBCF: Tell us about your breast cancer experience. Did early detection play a role in detecting your breast cancer?
MJ: My surviving sister was diagnosed with breast cancer 17 years ago. Unfortunately, her doctor had indicated she was ok three times prior to taking things more seriously. By then, she was a stage-three cancer patient. She had a broken spine and numerous knee surgeries, and then a horrible bout with depression. It was only when our second sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, that my first sister was able to rise up out of the depression to help her big sister. Our second sister died only four months after her diagnosis due to a severe blood-born infection that was a result of her chemo port.
Without hesitation, I believe that early detection taken seriously, with the proper treatment, would have made the difference in both my sisters’ lives.
NBCF: What would you tell a friend or family member about early detection?
MJ: Do your monthly self-examinations, get your annual mammograms and make sure all of those around you are doing the same.
NBCF: If you could share one piece of wisdom with a large group of people, what would it be?
MJ: Take care to be diligent in watching for the early signs, do all you can to take care of your body and stay healthy.
NBCF: Who inspires you?
MJ: Without a doubt, my surviving sister, Mary Lynn Presley. She also survived a major life threatening auto accident this last Thanksgiving. She was in a coma for nine days and was told she might not walk for months. She was walking in three weeks and is now driving again.
NBCF: Describe your perfect day off?
MJ: A great work out, time with friends and family, exploring something new, whether it be a new restaurant, recipe, or walking spot. During volleyball season, it would have to be watching my youngest play with her college team, MSU (Midwestern State University) in Wichita Falls, TX.
NBCF: What activities or groups in North Texas are you involved in and/or passionate about?
MJ: There are two groups I am most passionate about. The first is the Frisco Chamber of Commerce that I have the privilege of working with daily. The second group is the Frisco Education Foundation, where I have happily served for 13 years with a rotation off of their board for a year. I am incoming President for the Foundation, and there truly is no greater joy than knowing we are making a difference in the next generation through college scholarship, grants for the classroom and a STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) academy for middle schoolers.
NBCF: Why would you encourage someone to give to NBCF, a breast cancer charity, on North Texas Giving Day?
MJ: It’s all about early detection and providing that for some folks that do not have the luxury of great insurance coverage. NBCF provides a vital service to those that need breast screening and education. The support that NBCF offers is more than a worthy cause, it is human compassion at its best.
We are honored that MJ shared her story of supporting her sisters with hope and positivity. We hope you join MJ and NBCF in spreading the message of early detection by making a donation to NBCF on North Texas Giving Day. Remember, this is a one-day giving event! Any amount you
give truly helps.