Chambers former chief still going strong
During the eight years that Gail Parker was president of the Central Fort Bend Chamber Alliance, she helped hundreds of community members and business owners.
She also had the pleasure of working with the governor and various local-level elected officials.
When Parker was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in February 2011, she was determined not to let it interfere with her job.
“I’m a pretty stubborn, hard-headed person, and I’ve always considered myself to be Wonder Woman: Give me anything, and I can do it. Tell me ‘no’ and I’ll prove you wrong; tell me ‘never’ and I’ll really prove you wrong,” Parker said. “I thought that the (breast cancer) was going to be just a blip on the radar screen, and I’d be fine.”
Parker’s doctors at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital immediately started her on a four-month chemotherapy treatment that consisted of a very potent mix of drugs. Soon, she realized that her fight against breast cancer would be more than simply a blip.
“I just kept getting sicker and sicker and weaker and weaker,” she said. “I felt like I wasn’t doing myself or my chamber members or my staff any favors by staying, and that it would really be best if I decided to retire. Serving as chamber president was one of the most challenging, yet enjoyable, positions that I think I’ve ever held in my life. I loved every minute of it and hated leaving it.”
Parker rebounded by dedicating all of her time and energy to fighting — and beating — her breast cancer. A double mastectomy and several reconstructive surgeries later, doctors declared Parker cancer-free in February. Parker, her husband and their closest friends celebrated the good news by renting a limo and heading out for a show and a night of fine dining.
“We had a wonderful evening,” Parker said. “I felt like a big, heavy boulder had been lifted off my back. I felt so light and joyous; it was a great evening.”
Parker credits her recovery to the excellent care she received at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, as well as positive thinking and support from her husband, family and friends.
Megan Mattingly-Arthur is a freelance writer. She can be reached at email@example.com.
ABOUT GAIL PARKER
COMMUNITY CONNECTION: Sugar Land resident
FAST FACT: Spoke at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Pretty in Pink fundraiser.
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