2019 Step Up for Stefanie’s Champions: Patricia Carter

Patricia Carter

When Ericka Boddie was 10 years old, her mother Patricia Carter was diagnosed with uterine cancer.

“I can vividly remember wondering if my mother would die. I saw the power and strength my mother possessed, because despite being ill, she always took the time to ensure I had all that I needed,” she says.

“Fast forward to August 2017. I was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. I knew if my mom could survive cancer, so could I.”

Facing an invasive ductal carcinoma that had spread to her lymph nodes, Ericka required an aggressive treatment regimen of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Patricia moved in with her daughter to help with her post-surgery recovery. She changed her dressings, emptied her drains, cooked, did the laundry, washed her hair, prayed for her and provided constant love and emotional support.

When Ericka started chemotherapy a couple months later, she recalls, “My mother was thinking and planning for me even when it was too difficult for me. I was the most worried about hair loss, because I would have to acknowledge I had cancer. When I saw that I had a bald spot on my temple, I called my mother.” Unbeknownst to Ericka, her mother had already purchased a wig for her.

Her chemotherapy was followed by six weeks of radiation therapy, after which Ericka was excited to ring the bell and tell her cancer “goodbye.” “I remember walking out to the lobby, after having cried the entire last round of radiation, to find a sea of familiar faces smiling and clapping, pink balloons and signs with well wishes from home. My mother had been thinking of a way to make the end of my cancer journey positive and memorable.”

Ericka continued to rely on her mother’s strength.

At her one-year follow-up appointment at the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center, Ericka was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which would require a mastectomy, reconstruction and lymph bypass.

Her surgery lasted 10 hours, and the first face to greet her afterward was her mother’s. When Ericka later faced complications from her surgery, including a dying breast from necrosis, Patricia once again moved in to assist with her care.

In the span of 494 days, Patricia accompanied Ericka to 93 appointments and treatments. “As I began to calculate it, I was overcome with emotion to know my mother did not miss a single appointment,” Ericka says. She made this journey both bearable and humbling. My mother is a champion because she stood by me during my two cancer journeys – all with grace, humility and love.”

Help us honor Stefanie's Champions – and champions in your life – by taking part in the 2019 Step Up for Stefanie's Champions Walk/Run.