Angelina Jolie inspires local women to share their stories

Angelina Jolie (WRDW-TV)

Angelina Jolie (WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, May 14, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Actress Angelina Jolie shared some big news Tuesday. She went public about getting a voluntary double mastectomy.

She says she made the tough decision after getting test results that showed she had an 87 percent of getting breast cancer.

The same decision hits close to home with a lot of women right here in our area.

Danielle Whitlock lost her mom eight years ago to breast cancer. She's been afraid of meeting the same fate until now.

"She [my mom] was my inspiration to do what I did, and I'm glad I did it," Whitlock said.

After some testing, Whitlock found out she had precancerous cells, meaning she could get cancer down the road. She opted to have both of her breasts removed to prevent that from happening.

"I have two young children, twins myself. At the time, they were 9, now they're 10, but I said I need to do this for them. I need to do this for myself."

Monique Braswell is recovering at home from a double mastectomy right now. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, and a doctor told her if she just removed one breast, she could run the risk of it coming back in the other.

"I just thought, do it all at once and be done with it," she said.

Braswell says the decision to take the other breast was obvious to her.

"It was all about life. It was about seeing my twins graduate from high school in six years," she said.

In an op-ed in the New York Times, Jolie says the decision for her came down to family, too. But the public announcement from a celebrity who has been an icon of physical beauty for years reconfirms what local women say they know firsthand.

"Breasts don't define you as women, as a woman. It absolutely does not define you as a woman," Braswell said.

Click here to read the op-ed Jolie wrote for The New York Times.

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