It was a day Patricia Brown will never forget — May 10, 2005.
That day, she went from living her life to fighting to live after receiving news that stopped her in her tracks. Brown had received a breast cancer diagnosis.
The fight to live began soon after receiving the news.
For the next seven months, Brown received cancer treatments that eventually shrank the tumors and led to her being declared cancer free on Jan. 9, 2006.
During the next six years, she lived her life, thankful everyday to be a survivor.
Then on June 29, 2012, Brown received news that blindsided her — her cancer had returned, was stage four and had spread to her lungs and bones. While many may have been ready to give up, The City Wire's chief operations officer prepared to battle the incurable cancer and inspire others in the process.
Brown began chronicling her battle with cancer through a group consisting of more than 1,100 people on Facebook (Prayers for Patricia). She also started a blog, Tick Tock Cancer, on The City Wire's website.
"Going through this has been a roller coaster ride," Brown said.
But she said the blog was a way for her to be able to put her thoughts in writing and maybe help others in the process.
"Journaling is good for the soul," she said. "It's good to put your thoughts on paper."
As Brown has detailed the sad, funny, hard and uplifting moments that have accompanied her fight against stage four breast cancer, she has expanded her reach and is making an impact in the lives of cancer patients and caregivers all over the United States.
"It grew virally, like everything else," she said.
In October, during a visit to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Brown, who also receives treatment at Highlands Oncology Group in Rogers, decided she wanted some professional photographs taken to accompany her blog.
"I wanted to get some high resolution photos for my blog," Brown said.
She knew the marketing and communications department would be the place to go, though she did not know how to get there on the sprawling campus that consists of 19,000 staff members.
During Brown's hunt for the department, she literally came across an angel.
"The day was actually the day of our pediatric fall festival," said Lucy Richardson, a communications specialist with MD Anderson. "A bunch of employees pass out candy as our pediatric patients pass through. Me and my colleague Sara Farris were there and she was dressed as an angel."
Brown inquired about the marketing department and found out from Farris that she and Richardson were the people she needed to see. While Brown was interested in getting more professional photos for her blog, Richardson said she and Farris had another idea in mind.
Richardson runs MD Anderson's blog Cancerwise and knew Brown would be a great contributor to the site.
"She talked to me and I listened to a little of her story and how she came to MD Anderson," Richardson said. "Her personality just radiates positivity."
The blog, which has been in existence since 2009, now allows Brown to inspire nearly 50,000 readers a month with her story and how she has not taken her diagnosis lying down.
Her first blog post on the site went live Wednesday (Feb. 6) and detailed how she came to be a patient at one of the nation's leading cancer treatment facilities.
Richardson said the purpose of the blog is to offer support to anyone affected by cancer.
"It' a place where they can go and read stories about people like themselves," she said. "It's just a place to kind of offer support."
Brown, who exercises daily and works longer hours than most people in perfect health, said the chance meeting gave her the opportunity of a lifetime to reach more people with the story of the journey she is on and the journey she will continue.
During a recent visit to MD Anderson, PET scans showed that some of the tumors had grown – although the growth was "very small," Brown said.
But she has started a new drug that will surely draw even more attention to her fight for life. The drug, Afinitor, was recently approved by the FDA and has received a lot of praise in national media for results seen during trials while it was awaiting FDA approval.
Brown said she was hoping for the best and as she waits for her next appointment at MD Anderson in May, she'll continue blogging her journey both at Cancerwise and Tick Tock Cancer.
Yet even with the amount of people she will continue to reach through both blogs, Brown almost cannot believe how she has been able to turn her situation into an inspiration to others.
"I've been really surprised," she said. "It's humbling to think anyone would care about my life."
Richardson was not surprised one bit.
"Her story truly is the exception," she said. "Every person is different and Patricia is just one of those really, really special people."