EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 17, 2013

Editorial: Some cheers, some jeers for recent newsmakers

CHEERS to Donna Judge, who brings an uncommon strength to her battle against cancer.

Judge, of Haverhill, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. It was unexpected, shocking news and Judge was crying hysterically as she told her husband.

“He said I kept saying, ‘I don’t want to die,” Judge told reporter Sara Brown. “I don’t remember that at all. I guess I blocked it out.”

Judge endured eight rounds of chemotherapy and a mastectomy. But four years later, she again was diagnosed with the disease.

Judge is now on her fourth diagnosis of cancer.

Judge, 44, a teachers aide in the Haverhill school system, has endured chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries, including bone resection and chest wall and lymph node dissection. She is now in a clinical trial at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Judge has fought through depression and hair loss but has pressed on with the support of family and friends.

“It has been an interesting ride, for sure,” Judge said.

Judge has kept a positive attitude throughout her cancer fight. Before her first diagnosis, she had started karate lessons. She is now working on her third-degree black belt.

“It’s a great outlet and stress reliever,” Judge said. “Sometimes, it’s good just to hit things.”

Judge has learned some things about herself, too.

“I’m stronger than I thought I was,” Judge said. “I say what I mean and mean what I say. I don’t care if people don’t like me now. If they do, great. If they don’t, I don’t have time for them anymore. Time is precious.”

It is difficult for many to imagine the struggle necessary to beat cancer once, let alone four times. Judge provides a truly inspiration example of inner strength and endurance. We wish her the best in her latest fight and pray for her ultimate victory over this disease.

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