Rural Missouri can be incredibly beautiful. I visited the Burnett/Boggs family out in New Franklin. Lauren fed flowers to the cows in the backyard and Shelia cracked crab legs with pliers. I can't believe she is graduating high school already and will be off to college soon. Her prom dress hung on the wall next to her new matching boots. On the way back I stopped to pet some horse noses. The pasture is located where the pavement meets gravel and there's something peaceful about the dust that spins up behind you on a dirt road. I'm going to miss this place.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
They missed it. She had an eight-pound tumor on her kidney and they missed it. Shelia Burnett of New Franklin, Mo. was diagnosed with stage IV Renal cell carcinoma in May of 2011. Recently her cancer reoccurred in her liver and is no longer curable. Burnett is preparing her family for her death. “There’s a lot of times I ask myself why am I having to go through this? I don’t know why I am going through this other than making my daughter a stronger person.” said Burnett. Burnett’s daughter Lauren Burnett, 17, has stepped up to help her mother with chores at home and at their family business Boggs Auto Salvage and Sale.
According to a study by Kathryn E. Weaver, assistant professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, rural cancer survivors reported more psychological distress, were more likely to be in fair or poor heath and unable to work because of a health condition than urban cancer survivors.
Burnett fears burdening her family with her emotion and she wishes there were more resources and support groups for people living in rural areas. “That’s part of a rural community we don’t have the resources a big city would have so you learn to use your family.”
* "Making My Daughter Stronger" recently placed 3rd in the Hearst Journalism Awards Enterprise Multimedia category and qualifies me to compete in the Hearst Journalism Awards National Multimedia Championship this June.