COPPERAS COVE — Three months before her husband, Staff Sgt. Pascal Charmant, and two daughters were supposed to move to Alaska, Tyra Charmant learned she had breast cancer.
Charmant is an angel, a stage one breast cancer survivor and retired Soldier who last served at Fort Hood and now serves as a military spouse.
“You read a lot more. You want to know how this happened, why this happened,” Charmant said.
Charmant said that at first she couldn’t understand why she was being diagnosed with cancer, but was determined to fight.
“When they (medical physicians) said it was cancer, my youngest daughter, she just started crying,” Charmant said. “I couldn’t have the emotions. I had to be strong at that point and I was like ‘OK, what’s the next step? What do we do?’ That military mindset.”
Charmant said that she was very grateful that her husband’s unit gave him a compassionate reassignment to stay at Fort Hood.
“They took care of the whole family and they showed that they cared,” Charmant said. “When I found out (I had cancer), he was in the field and they allowed him to come out of the field to come home with me.”
After being diagnosed with breast cancer last March, Charmant quickly began chemotherapy, which she said required an implanted port, also known as a catheter, tunneled under the skin. The ports are usually tunneled in the patient’s chest or arm.
“It’s a permanent port that they put in to give you your chemo,” Charmant said. “They do not remove the port until once you’ve completed all treatment.”
Charmant completed her treatment last December, supported throughout her battle by the Pink Warrior Angels of Central Texas.
Pink Warrior Angels of Central Texas is a nonprofit organization that gives 100 percent of its profits directly to patients fighting cancer.
Supporters of the nonprofit organization can register online as a warrior, angel or volunteer. More than 300 supporters are currently registered.
A warrior is a patient battling cancer. An angel is someone who has defeated cancer and mentors warriors. A volunteer is someone who has never had cancer, but supports the nonprofit organization.
One of the organization’s largest fundraisers is the Pink Warrior Dash, which was held Sept. 28 at the Copperas Cove City Park. This year’s dash, with 279 runners and walkers, raised approximately $8,000.
Charmant attended the dash last year after a friend introduced her to the Pink Warrior Angels of Central Texas. Charmant said that although the founder of the nonprofit organization, Julie Moser didn’t know her, she had reached out to her after the dash.
“And when I saw how she was reaching out I was like, ‘wow that’s amazing’,” Charmant said. “Now, I am a part of the cancer community, that’s how I look at it.”
Charmant said that Moser made her feel as though she was not alone.
“I would have never been as involved if it didn’t happen to me,” Charmant said.
Moser shared that the nonprofit organization has financially helped over 200 families. The organization, established in 2015, has consistently donated $4,000 every month to cancer patients and their families in need.
“My goal is to get to everybody as soon as I can,” Moser said.
Pink Warrior Angels of Central Texas live by the slogan, “Give more. Help more. Share more.”
“The giving piece is to be able to give financial assistance on a monthly basis. Help more is to help those who are in need, whether they are cancer survivors or not,” Moser said. “And then share more – to share all the knowledge that we have learned over time.”
As a five-year, stage-two breast cancer survivor herself, Moser, hopes that the nonprofit organization, enables cancer patients and survivors to continue to fight cancer.
“To be able to empower another person is so important,” Moser said. “You feel defeated, you’re exhausted, you’re tired, you’re bald, you’re sick, your skin is different.”
Five years after Moser was diagnosed with breast cancer, her mother was diagnosed with the same disease. Moser said that her mother, 67, who is now a stage five cancer patient, is refusing chemo.
“Even though I didn’t want to accept her wishes, I’ve have to learn how to accept that,” Moser said.
Moser said that the average age of women in the nonprofit organization’s support group is 25.
“One in eight women in this room will have breast cancer in their lifetime, then out of those eight, one will be metastatic and die from it,” Moser said. “And those are really scary numbers, very scary.”
Charmant said that since beating cancer, she has placed her health as a top priority.
“You never know, it (cancer) can come back,” Charmant said. “I pray that it doesn’t come back.”
The next event being held by Pink Warrior Angels of Central Texas will be Runway of Hope at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.
For more information about Pink Warrior Angels of Central Texas, visit https://pinkwarriorangels.org.