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Mother's Ally Against Breast Cancer: Her Daughter

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Mother's Ally Against Breast Cancer: Her Daughter

Mother's Ally Against Breast Cancer: Her Daughter

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And it's time now for StoryCorps, the project that travels the country collecting conversations between friends and family. At Siteman Cancer Center in St. Peters, Missouri, parents and children recorded StoryCorps interviews to study how cancer survivors talked with their kids about the disease.

Dymond Hayes spokes with her mother Tami. When she was diagnosed with cancer, Tami was raising her daughter as a single mom. Dymond was just 13.

Mr. DYMOND HAYES: What did it feel like to hear that you had cancer?

Ms. TAMI HAYES: I was afraid that I hadn't given you all you needed and that we hadn't had enough time together.

Ms. D. HAYES: Were you surprised by my response?

Ms. T. HAYES: You reacted totally different than I thought. I thought that, because I was hysterical, that you would be crying too. And I remember getting out of surgery and coming home. I'm bandaged up and I'm in all this pain, and it was me and you, and there you were, being a mom. I remember looking at you. You were handing me one trashcan to throw up in and you were taking another away and rinsing it out. And you just kept on, and I kept thinking, my God, she's only 13.

Then the next day I wake up to an empty house and I looked around thinking, where is Dymond, and you had gone to school. My God, you had got yourself together and went to school after being up all night with me. But you never wavered. If you did, I never saw it. You never showed it to me. Where did you get the strength from?

Ms. D. HAYES: I remember all the times that I was sick and you would take care of me. You always were there so, and you did it for me; why wouldn't I do it for you?

Ms. T. HAYES: You know, Dymond, I had told people everyday, Dymond is the rock that holds us together. So, when I talk about my journey, it's very hard for me to talk about it without imagining having shared this journey with you. You were always there for me, and I love you more than life itself, and I appreciate your sharing the journey with me.

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INSKEEP: Tami Hayes with her daughter Dymond in St. Peters, Missouri.

They told their story as part of a research study conducted at Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University. And you can read more stories like this one in the new StoryCorps book, which is called "Mom."

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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