“Early detection is key:” Local breast cancer survivor reflects, encourages others to get checked

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A year-long battle with breast cancer, coming to a close for West Ashley’s Melissa Azevedo. Diagnosed in September 2020, the last 12 months have shown perseverance and strength only those impacted by cancer can fathom.

News 2 first brought you the story of Melissa Azevedo, and her husband Tyson, in December 2020. Tyson Azevedo is the head coach of West Ashley High School’s baseball team. In December, his team shifted their focus off the field to raise money for the Azevedo family. Click here to read the heartwarming story.

Now, thanks to love and support from family, friends, and the community, Melissa Azevedo is doing much better and, back in May, got to ring the bell to celebrate the end of treatment.

“I got to ring the bell twice,” said Melissa. “Once for finishing chemo and once for radiation and…there is no better feeling.”

But getting to the bell took time, effort, and a lot of fight. One that took a toll on her.

“Honestly, I don’t even remember last September or October.”

The diagnosis came in September. After receiving a scheduled mammogram, doctors noticed something they needed a closer look at. A biopsy revealed the lump was malignant.

“Fear is the first thing you feel when you hear that word,” said Azevedo.

Her husband, Tyson, said receiving the news felt like ‘a dagger to the heart.’

“It just was a lot of just heart-wrenching feelings,” he said.

In the months following the diagnosis, Azevedo faced surgery, chemo, and radiation. She said now, she feels great and reflects on what pushed her through.

“We have an eight-year-old so there was no other choice than to get through it.”

A common theme in the Azevedo family pulled Melissa through to hit the home run, baseball. She worked for the Riverdogs for years, while her husband coaches the West Ashley wildcats.

“Once you’re in the baseball family, it’s forever,” she said.

She said baseball teams around the area, as well as some minor and major league teams, showed support during the last year. This baseball family is loved. So loved, that last year the West Ashley Wildcats gifted the family with a $2,400 check to assist with medical costs and other necessities.

“When they did that I mean it was just…I’m not necessarily a crier, but it was very heartfelt and I’m so appreciative and I love this community,” said Tyson Azevedo. “We are truly blessed.”

The love and support from the Wildcats, friends, family, and the community, along with Melissa’s personal fight to beat breast cancer, led her to the bell.

“She is superwoman. 5 foot 1 Superwoman that will literally do anything for anybody,” said Tyson.

Now, Azevedo is a big proponent of early detection. She says getting checked regularly is crucial.

“Early Detection is key. Research all of your risk factors. Listen to your body, and don’t skip your mammograms. Like, schedule it today.”

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