May 4, 2004 at 1:14 PM CDT - Updated June 27 at 3:21 AM
Every three minutes, someone in America learns they have breast cancer. Three years ago, John Cranfill of Smith County learned his wife Vicki had cancer. It's was just weeks after the birth of their first baby, and her diagnosis changed his life forever.
John Cranfill cherishes each moment he has with his son Isaac.
"He has so many of her characteristics, her qualities," says John.
John says Isaac is the spitting image of his mother. A mother he will never get to know. Vicki was diagnosed with breast cancer eight weeks after she gave birth to Isaac. John says the diagnosis was crushing.
"We had just begun to get started and we both had dreams of growing old and grey together," he adds.
Chemo and radiation took a toll on the new mom, though she wouldn't let anyone know it.
"Some of the symptoms of the treatments they were trying to give her to control it were almost worse than the cancer itself, but through all that she never complained, she was never bitter," he says of his wife.
After a long year and a half battle, she lost her fight, just weeks before what would have been their fourth wedding anniversary.
"That was one of the lowest times in my life. If there is anything I can do to help people avoid the pain and the anguish to be challenged in that way, I will do it," he says.
That is why today he helps with organizations like the Komen Race For The Cure, to help other families get through the tough time. He says that's what his wife would have wanted.
"I've gone back and read journals and read entries she had made, and she struggled with what she thought her witness and purpose was supposed to be. She was an example of strength in the presence of an overwhelming enemy," he says.