FIGHTING CANCER: One mammogram at a time

NEWPORT, VT - Having a mammogram is typically a private matter, but it wasn’t for Deveney Choquette, a popular radio personality on WMOO in Derby. On Friday, October 5, she had her very first mammogram – after telling all her listeners about it in the week leading up to the procedure. Then on Tuesday, October 9, she reported back to listeners about the experience. For years Deveney has worked to get the word out about cancer prevention. She has also been active in the Relay for Life raising money for cancer research. Letting the world know about her first mammogram was another way to educate people about cancer prevention. “If I can get one person to get a mammogram, it was worth publicizing that I was getting one,” Deveney said. “Maybe it will even save a life.” Brian Bidwell, Director of Diagnostic Imaging at North Country Hospital, praised Deveney for her willingness to share her experience with the world. “I think what she did was good,” Brian said. “People need to realize the importance of preventive screenings. You owe it to yourself. Early detection is the key.” "Each year North Country performs about 3,500 mammograms," he said. “However, there are still women out there who are not getting mammograms who should.” Cancer is far more than an abstract disease for the radio personality. The nearest and dearest person in her life died of it.Most people remember their senior year in high school as a year of excitement and good times as they prepare to launch into the adult world, whether into work, the military, or higher education. But for Deveney, her senior year was the year that she lost her mother, Rachel Choquette, to cancer.“It was supposed to be the best year of my life,” Deveney said. Her mother, who was a teacher’s aide in Glover, lost her long battle with breast cancer in 2001, when Deveney, the youngest of four siblings, was only 17 years old.“I didn’t only lose my mother, I lost my best friend,” she said.  “My mom fought cancer and she didn’t complain, but she lost the fight.”Several years later, Deveney has been able to find solace in her life, but her life is divided into two parts – before her mother died and after she died. Although she misses her mother terribly, she now dedicates part of her life to working to assure other people don’t have to undergo the pain her mother did, and the pain she herself feels in losing a loved one to cancer.It seemed only fitting to Deveney that she have her mammogram in October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Most women have their first mammogram between 35 and 40 years old, with an annual mammogram after the age of 40. However, because Deveney’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 43, she decided to start her screening early.Although she knew having the procedure was the right thing to do, she also admitted to being a bit nervous, in part because some friends told her it would hurt. “Some people told me it hurt so much they cried.”After having the mammogram Deveney shared her personal thoughts on it. “It really wasn’t that bad,” Deveney said. “It was only a little uncomfortable but it was over quick.”She certainly made it clear that having a mammogram is far less painful than some people had told her, certainly not painful enough to skip and risk dying a painful death from cancer. Thank you, Deveney, for all you do to educate people about cancer and for all you do for cancer research.