Behind the Scenes of Breast Cancer: A News Anchor Tells Her Story of Body and Soul Recovery--Book and DVDBehind the Scenes of Breast Cancer: A News Anchor Tells Her Story of Body and Soul Recovery--Book and DVD
Brenda Ladun
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From leading Alabama news anchor and breast cancer survivor Brenda Ladun, comes an up-close look at the physical and spiritual challenges of her journey from diagnosis to recovery. Includes a DVD spotlighting restorative health care regimens and interviews with experts including a physical therapist, fitness specialist, massage therapist, dietician, swim instructor, and plastic surgeon.
     

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Brenda Ladun

 

Brenda Ladun, prime-time news anchor and author, inspired countless viewers as she battled courageously against breast cancer. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation awarded her the National Media Award for coverage of breast cancer. She and her husband, Doug Bell, have three children.

 
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am a news anchor, reporter, wife, mother of three, homeroom mother, and Sunday School teacher. I have worked in the news business for more than 20 years. I actually started news anchoring during high school as part of an experimental program that was on closed-circuit television throughout the campus. After graduating from high school, I pursued the art of storytelling at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Having covered a variety of news stories through the years, one night I became the lead story. I announced I had breast cancer, and, as viewers were watching that tape, I was actually undergoing surgery. That breast cancer experience launched me into a mission to fight cancer and to share the hope of Christ with others.
How did you become interested in writing?
From the time I was a little girl, I wanted to write books when I grew up. And not just any books—I wanted to write books that would really touch people. I think it was the fact that my parents were great storytellers that peaked my interest. I don’t think I was ever put to bed without a story when I was young. My Dad was a great creator of children’s stories. He would sit on the side of my bed and ask, "So what kind of story do you want tonight?" I’d usually say, "Something about puppies." Then he would spin a beautiful, detailed, charming story to help send me off to sleep. I want to share with others some of the wonder and humor he shared with me.
What compelled you to write a book on this subject?
Just seeing the struggle so many people have with breast cancer and having personal experience with the struggle myself, I know it doesn’t end with the last chemotherapy treatment. I share with groups how the Lord has helped carry me through the years—taking me past the cancer with hope and helping me overcome the fear—but I felt I needed to get the word out in writing to a broader audience.
What is the main theme or point that you want readers to understand from reading your book? Are there any other themes present in the book?
The main theme is that life does go on after cancer. The rate of depression is high among breast cancer survivors. I want to tell others that through prayer and faith, there is hope for a bright future. Though we who have experienced breast cancer have our ups and downs, beyond the cancer, the formula for survival—Christ himself—can get us through.
Are there some specific lessons you hope readers will learn and apply to their lives after reading your book?
Through perseverance, there is a molding, a character building, and hope. Trust in the Lord!
Do you have a favorite part of the book or a favorite chapter?
I think the first and the last chapters contain some amazing life lessons. I particularly like the story of the hole in the wall created by my youngest, who proceeded to deposit in it the Spider-Man watch he wanted but his brother got. The way my husband used a butter knife and a hammer to retrieve it reminded me of how God always provides the tools we need to get through anything in life! Another story that is special to me is at the end: When a friend was hit by a car while riding her bicycle, her pelvis was broken; her back, hurt; and her leg, twisted. When I walked into her hospital room, the first thing she said was, "I know this looks bad, but this isn’t the worst thing that has happened to me! My husband, who left, was the worst thing!" She started to see how God was delivering hope and love after a marital trauma through this horrible accident that landed her in the hospital. She was lucky to be alive, and friends began to shower her with love and blessings and meals. God can take a seemingly terrible thing in our lives and create something beautiful!
Look for the blessings! A homeless man who had found a job at a local mission said to me that he’d been looking for his blessings all his life when, in fact, they were right there in front of him. He hadn’t been able to see them until the Lord opened his eyes. "Just like the old hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ states, I ‘was blind, but now I see’"!
What makes your book different from other books similar to yours that are in circulation today?
A news anchor in a high-profile position shares intimate details of her spiritual recovery after the trauma of breast cancer and other challenges and heartbreaks in life.
How does the book intertwine with God’s call on your life and how you are currently serving Him?
The basis of the book is Proverbs 3:5–6: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths" (NLT). If we understand and live that Scripture—trust God with all our hearts—He will carry us through everything. I believe that type of relationship with the Lord will help anyone through anything in life. I want to be the big sister to show people that no matter what the circumstance, there is hope.
Do you have a favorite Scripture verse? What is it and why is it important to you?
It is the same as the basis of the book (Proverbs 3:5–6) because that Scripture first gave me peace when I was diagnosed. I repeated it to myself over and over through the battle. Now I can testify that the Lord did come through. He has directed my path. That is what I’m supposed to share through speaking and writing; that story will give others hope to get up out of bed and go on instead of giving up.
Are there any authors that either influenced you personally or influenced your style of writing? Who are they and how did they influence you?
I think Beth Moore’s humor and deep love for the Lord influenced me. Before I knew who she was, people would come up to me after a speech and say I reminded them of her. After reading her work and attending some of her conference events, I feel like she is definitely a sister in the Lord. Charles Stanley, Billy Graham, and Franklin Graham are also some of my favorites.
When you are not writing, what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?
Enjoy my children! I try to be involved, play ball, run, and bike with them—generally, just spend time with them. I love to read and cook with my oldest son, who is a great chef. I get the greatest kick out of life when I see my children care about the same concerns that I do. Homeless people and children with what doctors call incurable conditions touch their hearts. They pray for these persons and help raise money to make a difference. As for other hobbies, I also run and like to play tennis (but don’t have a lot of time for that). I plan to try to ski again after a decade of not doing it! Our family also enjoys hiking and golfing together occasionally. We like the outdoors. I also love to watch the boys play soccer, baseball, and football and swim.
Thank you for taking the time to answer a few of our questions. As we close, is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you. I hope this book helps others. I’m busy and my friends say I’m crazy to write a book while trying to be a supermom, great anchor, and wife. They say I shouldn’t write, because I’m too busy baking cupcakes for school, doing laundry, and telling people the latest news! But those activities won’t lift a sister out of the pit of depression, will they? So here I am . . . sharing. And what a blessing it is to help others!

 
Posted 02/12/2008