TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Many people who were diagnosed with cancer believed it to be a death sentence. From that moment, they need to find that thing worth living for, to give meaning for the remainder of their life.
In April of 2006, Kim Barber was healthy 41-year-old woman living in Point Place.
But over time, she noticed her right arm swelling and her breast turning a beet red. A biopsy revealed she had breast cancer.
"You never expect when you get a call from the doctor, them saying 'You have cancer,'" Barber remembered. It is all she remembers from that call. "I just remember hanging up that phone, and I was going crazy because i was here by myself. My husband was working. I was here all alone."
Barber does remember the one thought in her mind at the time.
"'That's what I thought. This is it. I'm only 41-years-old and I'm going to die from this,'" Barber said.
But on that day, she received motivation and comfort from her only son Jeff. He promised her everything would be fine.
"He goes, 'You know why I'm so confident about this?'" Barber remembered. "I'm crying. I go, 'No Jeff, why?' He says 'Well because in like, maybe, seven months...' I'm like 'What?' He goes, 'You're going to have a grandchild.'"
Jeff's child was born soon after. They named the baby girl Madison.
While he son helped to give her a grandchild, Madison brought her a new purpose in life.
"Madison is my reason for me sitting here," Barber said. "She's my reason for fighting the way that I did. I wanted to give up so many times."
That fall, Barber participated in her first Race for the Cure as she was going through treatment.
Friends of hers joined Barber's team, Kim's Kru, which swelled to 200 members. Barber's aunt suggested calling a fire station to raise money. With that call, a fundraising effort was born.
"We said if your guys, which I'm gonna say is maybe eights guys, maybe less, if they can raise $100 and donate it to Kim's Kru, we'll cook you guys dinner," Barber said.
The challenge spread like fire to different stations and shifts around Toledo.
"I took on the whole battalion, that's six stations," Barber remembered. "I'm like, I gotta be crazy, but I did it."
"As firemen, we like to help people and that's what we do. That's why we're here. That's our job. That's the nature of our business," explained firefighter Dough Stevens.
After rounds of chemo treatment and a lumpectomy, Barber's tumor began to shrink. But a personal matter dampened the joy as her father began to fall ill.
"I kept telling him, 'Dad don't give up. I need a buddy, I need a partner to help me do this,'" Barber explained.
Barber's last radiation treatment was January 29, 2007. It was her father's birthday. However, it was not a day of celebration.
Barber's father passed away from his illness. But her strength never faltered.
"She's still living every day and showing you can do whatever you want," said Kelly Dorn, who is one of Barber's closest friends. "It doesn't matter, it's a decision. You just have to make the decision."
Kim made that decision when she met her granddaughter Madison.
While she never thought of getting cancer at 41, or even surviving it, Barber believes there was a higher power at work.
"I believe it was all in the works," Barber said. "I believe He had bigger plans than we all thought."
Things are going swell for Kim.
She still has her loving husband, who she called her biggest supporter, by her side. Little Madison now has a little brother. And now she is being recognized for her fight against the disease she though will kill her.
"I am beyond thrilled, I'm happy," Barber said. "I can't believe this happened to me."
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