MULDROW, Arkansas — A breast cancer survivor is receiving some unexpected help from a friend after inspiring many with her countless acts of kindness and support.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 33 years old,” Davonna Whittenburg said. “I went through chemotherapy, radiation, the whole treatment.”
Years ago, Whittenburg was working as a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse at Mercy Hospital, saving up money for reconstructive surgery after having a double mastectomy.
“We had a baby that came through that my heart just went to,” Whittenburg said. “He was premature. No family. No visitors. No home. Nothing. [My husband and I] had always prayed about having a third child, adopting a child, but when I got cancer, that obviously went out the door,” Whittenburg said.
As it turned out, the dream of having another child wasn’t so far out of reach.
“I told my husband it was a no-brainer to me,” Whittenburg said. “I called the doctor’s office and told them that I was cancelling my surgery. They asked why and I said ‘because we’re adopting a child.'”
Two years later, Levi, like any child, runs around — laughing and playing with his siblings, McKayla and Matthew.
“Looking back, I think of how I cannot imagine my life without him,” Whittenburg said. “It’s literally as if he was in our plan from the get-go.”
For one of Whittenburg’s friends, what started out as an idea for a radio wish quickly became a fundraiser to give her that reconstructive surgery she’s always dreamed of.
“I feel like it’s time to bless her, so that’s what I want to do,” Linda Waters said.
Waters and Whittenburg have been friends for more than six years.
“She loves people,” Waters said. “If you’ve ever known anyone [who] has battled cancer, it’s very hard. You take something away like that from someone, she’s had both of her breasts removed. Someone could get really depressed over something like this. Davonna never got depressed. I’ve never seen a frown on her face. She’s always been a trooper.”
A survivor for six years now, Davonna said she was surprised by the kind gesture of her friend, but said she’s eager to get the one thing back that cancer took from her.
“I am very much still a woman — but it’s an important part of me. It is an important part of surviving a death disease. It did not take me, my spirit or my family, but it did take that part and I am determine to get every part that it took back,” Whittenburg said.
A reconstructive surgery turned adoption is what the Whittenburgs call one of their greatest blessings.
“God took me to this place and he took me to save that little boy,” Whittenburg said. “I know without a shadow of a doubt, that is why I was spared, so I could save him.”
Linda Waters has created a GoFundMe account to help raise money for the reconstructive surgery.