On Jan. 25, 2012, Alexander received the news she had Stage 4 esophageal cancer.
She tried to keep a positive focus throughout her fight against the cancer.
She noted after attending a recent meeting in Atlanta, she met several people “who had the same cancer and they are about 10 years out. What set them apart was the mindset. This is for any cancer or life in general ... A positive mental attitude will take you so much further. Our brains are such powerful tools. There is so much they can do and we only use a tiny bit.
“After I discovered what was wrong, I started fixing it. If you don’t know what’s wrong, how can you fix it,” she said.
She said she tried not to think negative thoughts. She also stayed off the Internet, because she said the information there is “very scary … very bleak.”
“I didn’t want to be a statistic. I not am going to be like anybody else. I’ve never done anything like everybody else,” she said.
“Live your life and try to find good. Everything that seems bad, there is good that comes from it,” she said.
Alexander went through 12 rounds of chemo, 600 hours.
“I’m now 44 years old and pregnant with my ninth child,” she said. “It is a very healthy pregnancy. Still, It’s kind of exciting to see the doctor’s jaw on the floor.”
She said “prayer and humor were the two big things that brought me through. I can do this. You have to find the lighter side to because it’s a very horrible thing cancer — no matter what kind.”
She said her cancer was diagnosis as a result of silent reflux.
After her diagnosis, Alexander became involved with the ECAN, Esophageal Cancer Action Network.
The Paint the Town Periwinkle day will benefit the efforts of ECAN as it seeks to find a solution to esophageal cancer.
Alexander and “her crew” are putting the activities together through donations. She has no budget to start with, but hopes to raise $25,000.
The day will include a barbecue, live bands, caricature artists, face painting, car show, a poker run and tips for healthy living.
The 5K run/Walk cost is $25. Everything else at the Paint the Town Periwinkle is free.
The bands already confirmed are Kinsleee Melhorn, a country singer, Grace Asylum and Reliance bluegrass Band. She said negotiations are under way with a couple of other groups.
She urges groups to form teams and join the fun while helping fight esophageal cancer.
Paint the Town Periwinkle will be held April 13, beginning at 1 p.m. the 5K race begins at 1:30 p.m. and the 5K walk at 1:40 p.m., at Athens Regional Park.
Entertainment gets under way at 3 p.m. with the festivities closing at 9 p.m.
Athens Regional Park is just off Interstate 75 at exit 49.
Individuals can register at www.ecan.org/paintthetownperiwinkle.
Alexander urged individuals to talk to your doctor is you have concerns that include more than occasional heartburn symptoms, any pain or difficulty when swallowing, have a family history of Barrett’s esophagus or esophageal cancer, have an ongoing, unexplained cough, have been speaking with a hoarse voice over several weeks, have a long-lasting, unexplained sore throat, or cough or choke when you lie down.