Warriors not forgotten

Winifred "Winnie" Frelow, EdD
Laura Purkey
Carrie Naas
Heather Rose Graham
Mildred Manion
Debbie Falgout
Lola Wilberr

Winifred "Winnie" Frelow, EdD

Winnie Frelow, a veteran educator and breast cancer survivor, died in 2013 while battling pancreatic cancer. The same year, she was awarded the Georgie Volz “Shine a Light” Award, given for extraordinary commitment to illuminating the lives of those battling cancer. After she beat breast cancer in 2001, Frelow teamed up alongside Sacred Heart in Port Arthur to assist in founding “Winners for Life,” an organization that helps educate women about breast cancer, raises funds to help provide free Gift of Life mammograms, and serves as a support system for women battling the disease. Sticking with it throughout the rest of her life, Frelow and the organization she spearheaded sponsored annual seminars and raised over $35,000 to make available free mammograms and clinical breast exams for medically underserved Port Arthur women.

Laura Purkey

Laura Purkey, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at a very young age, lost her life to the disease in 2012. Described as an “extraordinary professional,” the 30-year-old cancer warrior served as the vice president of accounting at Mobiloil Credit Union but is most remembered for her exceptionality as a “mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend,” inspiring others with her courage, strength and spirituality.

Carrie Naas

Carrie Naas, killed by breast cancer in 2011, was a treasured member of the Gift of Life family who volunteered what time she had left on this earth to mentor women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Naas served as member of Pink Power Network Advisory Committee and passionately advocated early detection cancer screenings.

Heather Rose Graham

Heather Rose Graham was just 33 when she lost the battle with breast cancer in 2010. A wife and mother of five, Graham was diagnosed three years prior. During the time she fought the cancer that ultimately took her life, she was a passionate Gift of Life advocate and supporter of other men and women also battling cancer.

Mildred Manion

Mildred Manion was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, and waged war on the disease until her death in 2012 at age 71. Fondly recalled as a gentle soul, Manion’s love for cats and dogs, as well as loyal support of free breast cancer screenings, was memorialized one last time upon her death as she asked for guests and loved ones to save money on buying flowers to instead send the cash to the Galveston Island Humane Society and the Julie Rogers Gift of Life Program. Prior to her death, Manion had spent nine years as an annual sponsor of the Gift of Life Mother’s Day mobile mammography van site.

Debbie Falgout

Debbie Falgout spent decades fighting breast cancer. Diagnosed with the disease 24 years prior to her death in 2017, Falgout endured a long and courageous battle that ended peacefully at home at the age of 63. A 28-year veteran employee of the Jefferson County Courthouse, Falgout was settling into retirement, entertaining friends and family, traveling, and supporting the mission of the Gift of Life Program.

Lola Wilber

Lola Wilber was diagnosed with Stage 2 ovarian cancer less than four years before her death in 2017 at the age of 40. Wilber, a new bride and ovarian cancer patient still undergoing chemotherapy in 2015, first learned the subtle symptoms of the disease while attending the Gift of Life Ribbon Run with her daughter two years prior. After her diagnosis, Wilber became an advocate for the Gift of Life program and early testing for ovarian cancer.

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