Two KITV employees reflect on their breast cancer battles

By Jill Kuramoto
Published On: Oct 08 2013 06:34:22 AM HST

Statistics show one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Which means there's a good chance you'll know someone who is battling the disease. As Jill Kuramoto reports, for those of us here at KITV, the fight against breast cancer came close to home not just once -- but twice.

HONOLULU -

Statistics show one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, which means there's a good chance you'll know someone who is battling the disease.

The fight against breast cancer came close to home at KITV not once, but twice.

In 2008, first came the news our longtime receptionist, Lydia Mahelona, had stage 2 breast cancer.

"The first thought in my head was my sons. I just wanted to be around for them," Mahelona said.

Just a few months later, unbeknownst to many, weekend anchor Pamela Young had been diagnosed with the disease.

"It's devastating because you always think you're never going to get it," Young said.

For Mahelona, courage and determination to fight the disease was documented and shared with viewers.

Young chose to quietly take on the cancer treatments.

"At first, I didn't want to really tell anyone," Young said. "I didn't want to make a big deal out of it because Lydia was going through it and she really needed everybody's support. But as more people learned about it, it just floored me."

Many cancer survivors say having a support team is critical in the fight.

Young recalls radiation treatments. "I grew so fatigued, so I would sleep on the floor and people walk over me, 'Oh, that's Pam.' Everyone was so understanding," she said. "And I realize not every workplace is like that. But you know, we're all family here."

And as family, KITV staff members did what they could to help.

Now, five years later, KITV can celebrate alongside its colleagues.

"I'm so happy and today is my day to celebrate," Mahelona.

"I realize there's a reason why this happened. I have an obligation now to other women who thought they way I did six years ago, that I'm immune. There's no way I can get it," said Young. "I have an obligation to tell them that's the wrong kind of thinking, that you have to be diligent in your health care and your testing."

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