Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Meet Cathy Wood -- Athlete

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Meet Cathy Wood -- Athlete

Article excerpt

Cathy Wood calls herself an athlete, and it is not just because she loves to coach her daughters' softball teams or play sports herself.

No, she says she is also an athlete when it comes to dealing with her cancer, which started with breast cancer in 1997 and continues today with regular treatment after the disease metastasized.

That is one reason why the 42-year-old Julington Creek Plantation resident thinks the American Cancer Society gave her its Courage Award last month.

"I am an athlete," she said. "I absolutely hate to lose, and that has given me that push to do a little more."

The award is given to individuals in each society chapter across Florida who demonstrate great courage in battling their disease and taking control of their lives. Wood is the winner for the St. Johns County unit and won because she showed "great courage and determination, positive attitude, ability to lead life as normal as possible," and became involved in community activities, said chapter Executive Director Mary Beth Pennington.

For Wood, it all began when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 1997. She had been very involved with her daughters' education and sports, coaching softball teams as well as working as a school volunteer through this year at her daughters' schools.

"I am a stay-at-home mom and very involved in the school system," she said. "I coached girls softball. I was very well-known because I was the only lady softball coach then [12 years ago]."

But the breast cancer spread, and she had two mastectomies.

"Since March, it has metastasized to my brain, and I did radiation for that. Then I had trouble with my back, and we found it in the soft tissue," she said.

Now she said she is on her "last leg" of treatment, undergoing chemotherapy for spots on her liver. Still, even though she coached her last year of girls softball with her youngest daughter last year wearing a scarf to cover the bald head the treatments had left behind, Wood's attitude remained positive. …

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