- Samantha Napier was initally diagnosed with Triple Negative Stage 3 breast cancer in August of 2021.
- Nearly two days to the year Samantha was diagnosed, her mother Elsie was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer.
- Watch the video to see the women making a full recovery— together.
I'm Malia Thomas, your neighborhood reporter in Valdosta, and I'm paying a visit to the Napier family, who have spent the last four years fighting breast cancer together.
Meet Elsie and her daughter Samantha. The women share a close bond, regularly helping each other with chores, enjoying hobbies such as gardening and constantly laughing together. Samantha tells me that she felt she had a built-in support system when she was first diagnosed with Triple Negative Stage 3 breast cancer August 25, 2019, just three weeks after her birthday.
"And since then, my whole life had changed."
Since her cancer was in the advanced stages, Samantha had to go into chemotherapy the following September. As her treatment started around the holidays, she found herself missing family functions.
Then she had to go into radiation, as well as reconstructive surgery. COVID-19 lockdowns just six months later added a double whammy...
"Because you couldn't be with your family and friends like you would because my immune system was compromised."
The one person consistently by her side was her mother. Elsie tells me she couldn't bear to have have her daughter out of her sight during her treatment.
"I never missed a chemo appointment. I stayed on top of her radiation appointments because at that point, she wanted me to stop coming to that because she could handle it from there. We lived together; we slept together for several months."
Samantha's treatment took two years to complete, but she came out in remission.
The fight for survival shifted from herself to her mother, Elsie.
Elsie had her own diagnosis of Stage 1 breast cancer after a routine exam. Elsie tells me after her initial shock, her feelings about her own cancer battle were unexpected.
"It wasn't a fear. It was almost like a Thanksgiving because I'd rather it be me than her."
Elsie's doctors found her cancer early, so her own treatment consisted of a partial mastectomy and 28 rounds of radiation. She enjoys nearly two years of her body being cancer free while Samantha enters year four of remission.
Elsie and Samantha credit their survival to their bond and their strong faith.
(Elsie): "I feel great. I thank God everyday."
(Sam): "I'm grateful God gave me another opportunity to be here."
Elsie and Samantha will celebrate a special milestone for Samantha next year as five years without a reoccurrence significantly lowers the chance of cancer coming back. I'm Malia Thomas, ABC27.