Faces of Survival: Margaret Ann Clifton

Margaret Ann Clifton said the outpouring of support she has received has forever changed her life. MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF

When Margaret Ann Clifton found a lump in May 2016, her doctor thought it was just a cyst, but she wasn’t convinced.


“I wanted to have more tests done,” said Clifton, a retired kindergarten teacher from Millen, Ga.

And she was right. The mass turned out to be cancerous. Clifton had just received a clean bill after getting a CT scan only days earlier.

“I went through several tests and found that it was estrogen fed, and that it was a fast-growing cancer. I had had a gene study done after the colon cancer and found I had a 45 percent chance of getting breast cancer in the other breast, so I opted to do a double mastectomy,” she said.

After her surgery, she underwent chemotherapy and radiation. It wasn’t her first experience with chemo: Two years earlier, she was treated for colon cancer with a colectomy and had chemo treatment.

For Clifton’s breast cancer, the chemo ended in January and the radiation in April. Her reconstruction surgery is scheduled for Oct. 24.

When she finished her chemo this time, she told her husband, Darrel, they were taking a vacation to Key West. After she finished radiation, they went out on another trip, spending 23 days traversing 7,400 miles through California, Arizona, Oregon and Montana.

Clifton said her friends and family were tremendously supportive, especially her husband. “A lot of people wanted to take me to my treatments, but he said no, that was his job,” she said.

Friends and family also helped by bringing the family meals, but the most important thing they did, she said, was pray. She believes her faith and the faith of others helped her survive cancer twice.

“I never once doubted that God would take care of me. I continued to go to church and never missed unless I was too sick to attend,” she said.

Clifton said the outpouring of support has forever changed her life.

“My life has always been centered on my husband and family, but now I appreciate them more and my friends have been so supportive,” she said. “I don’t go anywhere in my community that someone doesn’t ask me about how I’m doing and (tell me) how I was such an inspiration to them.”

Upcoming events

Miracle Mile Walk: 7:30 a.m. pre-walk party, 9 a.m. walk, today, Augusta Common, 836 Reynolds St. University Health Care Foundation’s annual event supports University Hospital’s Breast Health Center and Mobile Mammography Unit, which provide life-saving screenings to women in the community who otherwise might not have access to or means to afford these screenings. Visit themiraclemilewalk.org to start a team, join a team, sponsor a walker and donate; University Health Care Foundation, (706) 667-0030.

Cedar Creek Sew n Sews Lydia Work Day: 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Cedar Creek Community Center, 2584 Club Drive, Aiken; cut fabric, sew and trim totes given to The Lydia Project clients; contact Mary, (803) 502-1380 or rrommich@gforcecable.com.

Lydia Night at Firehouse Subs: 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Firehouse Subs in Augusta and North Augusta; 10 percent of all food sales will be donated to keep services free for women fighting cancer.

St. Michael’s Sewing Group: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 25; 263 St. George Drive, Waynesboro; sew Lydia totes in support of the women and girls The Lydia Project serves; bring your sewing machine; Alice, (706) 554-3306

Lydia Sew Day: 1-4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, Lutheran Church By The Lake Fellowship Hall, 100 Twelve Oaks Drive and Hwy 378, McCormick, S.C.; sew Lydia totes in support of women and girls coping with cancer; bring your sewing machine; Peggy Harla at rhoopz@wctel.net

3rd Annual Wacky Wig Walk: 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, Columbia County Amphitheater; benefits the Georgia Cancer Center-Image Boutique Fund; $20 registration at giving.augusta.edu/wackywigwalk; groups of 10 or more, contact Susan Doughtie at (706) 721-1364 or SDoughtie@augusta.edu

Lydia Work Day: 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Oct. 28, Advent Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, 3232 Washington Road; cut material for totes later sewn, and given to women and girls coping with cancer; Renee (803) 386-3617 or rblanchette4@gmail.com

Lydia Work Day: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 853 N. Liberty St., Waynesboro; cut fabric and sew Lydia totes in support of women coping with cancer; lunch will be served; email Nina Campbell at springer_usa@yahoo.com

Lydia Collection Drive: Saturday, Oct. 28, KJ’s Market, 5155 Wrightsboro Road, Grovetown; shop and drop to support The Lydia Project with supply needs for those fighting cancer

3rd Annual Fashion Show Fundraiser: 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, Trinity On The Hill UMC-Wesley Hall, 1330 Monte Sano Ave., benefiting The Lydia Project, holiday fashions by custom clothier, fashion designer and alteration specialist Alethia Hudson, fashions from Cato Fashions and David’s Bridal, music by A Major Sound, emcee by local comedienne Poncere Daniels and catering by Southern Girl Cooks; shop for holiday gifts from vendors; $20; email Alethia Hudson at sewmuchtalent@yahoo.com or (706) 414-1958

Talbot’s Lydia Day: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31, 491 A Highland Ave.; 10 percent of sales benefits The Lydia Project

Fall Back for Tommy Charity Tournament: 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5, Jones Creek Golf Club; sponsored by Anytime Fitness in support of The Lydia Project; $300 foursome; Rachel, (706) 910-1220

Prayer Group: 9:30 a.m. Thursdays, The Lydia Project, 1369 Interstate Parkway, lift up women’s and families’ prayer intentions; and pray for women and girls referred during the week; complete the volunteer application at thelydiaproject.org