"I felt that maybe something I had gone through would be helpful for someone else," Laney said. "When I have gone to the Surviving to Share banquet and I've heard other people's stories, there were little things that you read that resonate with you that may be not the same but similar. And I think you get hope from those stories.
"I was actually more devastated the second time than the first time," she said, about when her breast cancer returned in July 2009. "I didn't quite get the journey with cancer thing. I thought you do what the doctors' tell you, you get it taken out, you do this, it's done, over with and then you go on with your life. And I'm finding out it's not exactly the way that goes."
Cancer free since February, Laney faced a second occurrence of cancer in her left breast when a mass was detected in a lymph node. After undergoing surgery to remove five of her lymph nodes July 10, Laney received chemotherapy and radiation treatments to increase her chances of a successful recovery.
"Last year when I got [the booklet] I had just started treatment for the second time," she said. "I read stories about people who had gone through it not only twice but more and about how many years ago that was and how well they were doing and then people who had even more difficulties than I had and their hope and the fact that they were still surviving and that they were still doing well. I think that it just gives more hope because you're reading about someone that has experienced it and has come out strong on the other end."
In her Surviving to Share stories, Laney wanted cancer patients to know that joy still exists in their lives.
"I [wanted to express] that you're stronger than you think you are and you can deal with so much more in life and just to know how precious life is and not to take each day for granted anymore. To find the joy in every day -- no matter what your circumstances are, find the joy in every day because there's joy there."
Sponsored by Cartersville Medical Center's The Hope Center, Redmond Regional Medical Center and Polk Medical Center, the Surviving to Share program has been celebrating individuals, who have beaten breast cancer, since 2003.
"It's an opportunity to share inspiring stories of survival from women in our community who have lived through diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer," said Ginger Tyra, director of marketing and public relations for Cartersville Medical Center. "It's also a time to celebrate life and honor those special women."
Breast cancer survivors have until Sept. 20 to enter the Surviving to Share contest. To participate, individuals must submit a story about their experience with cancer and a candid photograph of themselves, and provide details about their diagnosis and treatment.
"Something can be learned from each story; helpful tips, support information, local resources and more are shared," Tyra said. "It's a type of 'sisterhood' that promotes and encourages sharing from one woman to another."
Entry forms can be obtained locally at Cartersville Medical Center, The Hope Center and WBHF or online at www.cartersvillemedical.com. While the authors of the top three stories will be rewarded with a two-night vacation package to Barnsley Gardens Resort, every participant will be invited to an awards dinner at Rome's Coosa Country Club Oct. 5 and have their submissions printed in a booklet to share with cancer patients. Previous entrants who were not selected as one of the three winners can submit their stories again in this year's contest.
For more information, call Tyra at 770-607-1017.