For 1 in 8 women in the United States (statistic from National Breast Cancer Foundation) those four words will change their lives forever. It’s the love and support of those around them who help them get through such a scary and uncertain chapter. Hear from two of our own AT&T employees who have fought the fight and became sheroes.

Patty Meggs, Director of Market Development

Survivor since 2019

For many years, I supported and participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk with The Network Employee Group. My sister had battled breast cancer, so it was a cause especially close to my heart. I didn’t realize that one day I would be even more personally impacted by the disease. After a routine annual mammogram in February 2019, I was called to come back for a second mammogram. Soon after, I was diagnosed with DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma in Situ), cancer in the breast ducts. From there, I went through a whirlwind of biopsies, MRIs, genetic testing and appointments with doctors and surgeons. Although my DCIS was considered Stage 0, what started out as a potential simple lumpectomy quickly turned into a mastectomy due to the extent it had spread. Thankfully, no chemotherapy or radiation was required.

I am so grateful to God for healing, comfort, and peace throughout my entire journey. My family, friends, and co-workers were steadfast in their prayers and support through it all.

I am blessed to work for a company like AT&T that supported me, not only with great healthcare benefits but also a culture of sensitivity and understanding. From having access to annual mammograms that resulted in an early diagnosis, to having the resources to purchase medical supplies, special garments, and comforting pillows, AT&T was right there in my corner. The impact of having leadership and co-workers who were so supportive and flexible is immeasurable. Not once did it become a problem when my multitude of appointments kept me away from work longer than expected. It cleared the way for me to heal and return even stronger and for that, I am truly grateful.

JoHanna Martinez, Lead HR Business Partner

Survivor since 2021

I had just turned off my oxygen machine after having it for 9 months post a near Covid death/hospital stint. During that time my routine mammogram had to wait. Finally, in October 2021, I went to my appointment without a worry in the world – I didn’t feel sick, I didn’t feel any lumps, I just wanted it to be quick and over. The next day they asked me to return for additional pictures and possibly an ultrasound. It wasn’t until they did the ultrasound that instinctively, I knew. After biopsies and the waiting game, on October 25th I was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma. I sat on the ground, closed my eyes, and reminded myself that the reaction of my family, friends, and colleagues would be contingent on how I delivered it. Therefore, I made a choice to be positive despite feeling overwhelmed, scared, lonely, and frankly… angry.

It didn’t help that I had just started a new position at work. I was so nervous to share this personal news with a team who didn’t know me. But when I did, I was immediately reassured that I had their support in whatever capacity I needed. I jokingly told my client group, “So if you see me wearing hats all of a sudden, you know why.” Without a skip of a beat, our VP of Marketing and Growth Organization replied, “If you wear a hat, we’ll all wear a hat.” It was such a small gesture, but it meant the world to me, and I cried for the first time since my diagnosis.

The friendships I’ve created over the years here at AT&T couldn’t have been a bigger blessing. Friends who have become family came to visit, delivered food, and went above and beyond to support me. I met my best friend here. She helped measure drains, got me showered, combed, and dressed… it was endless. Far more than anyone could ever expect from someone you meet at work.

Grasping this kind of diagnosis is so hard to explain. There are stages of acceptance that take time.

With acceptance comes even more hard stuff, navigating through health insurance. When I was ready, I called our benefits center. I was able to ask about second opinions, and what the difference was between deductible and total out-of-pocket expenses. They helped put my mind at ease. To date my medical expenses have totaled more than you could ever imagine, and I don’t know what we would have done without our amazing benefits.

I pray every day the worst is behind us and I’m eternally thankful to have such an amazing support system professionally and personally through AT&T.

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