It isn’t often that you can decide when something awful happens to you it is for a greater good. Yet that is exactly what happened when Dolly Stringer was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. The Georgia woman decided to shave her head to preempt her hair falling out when she began chemotherapy. Her husband decided to do the same. When Bud Stringer saw a birthmark he had never seen before he called his mother to find out if he had ever had a birthmark on his head. When she said no, he had himself tested and found his own cancer.
In an interview the Stringers gave to ABC on Monday, Bud Stringer told the interviewer that he decided that the mark must be a mole so he went to the dermatologist. The dermatologist did a biopsy and determined that Bud had stage three malignant melanoma. Bud’s form of the disease was an aggressive form of skin cancer.
Dolly Stringer told the interviewer:
“I was just really in shock and Bud was, too … and I was just devastated, because it’s one thing to have it yourself, that I could handle, but to know that Bud was going to have to go through what I was going through, and worse?”
Bud’s treatment is going to be a very intense. He has already had two very extensive surgeries to remove as much of the tumors as they can. He is going to have a year of chemotherapy, where for the first month he will need to go to the hospital five days a week and then do self injections for the 11 months after that.
Dolly has already had many surgeries to treat her breast cancer. She recently completed her final round of chemo, her eighth, and will soon start six and a half weeks of radiation.
Dolly’s prognosis is very good, but she believes she got her disease in order to save Bud’s life. Dolly said:
“I now know that I had to have that to save Bud’s life, because he would have been – the doctor told me that I would have been burying him probably by Christmas. We just have so, so much to be thankful for.”
Bud said about the whole affair:
“I’m not a Bible-thumper, I am a Christian, but I really feel like God’s hand shaved my head. I really do … If Dolly had not lost her hair – or chosen to shave her head – I never would have found this … ,”
The Stringers hasve also received a massive outpouring of support from the community. Bud is self-employed and Dolly has had to cut back on her hours at the addiction center where she works because of her treatment. The community has given them food, clothing and even dog food to make sure the dogs were taken care of.
The Stringer’s church, First Presbyterian of Moultrie, organized a 5k run for the Stringers and expected to raise $5,000 for the couple. Instead they raised $40,000.
Dolly said the outpouring of support has brought her much inner peace. Dolly said:
“I could see very quickly that our needs were going to be provided for … We’re going to be okay, the children are going to be okay. It’s just been amazing. I mean every day we just we just find ourselves going ‘thank you,’ and it just doesn’t feel like enough.”