Dr. Weakland Appears In AJC Article “Rebecca’s Story”

Wednesday, January 8th, 2003

A recently published major feature story on a Georgia Cancer Specialists patient of Dr. Laura Weakland’s has generated an outpouring of support for the subject of the article.

Titled “Rebecca’s Story,” the September 29 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article featured Atlanta resident Rebecca Simpson, an African American who has been living with breast cancer since last year. The story appeared in the Sunday Living section and was previewed on the front page of the newspaper’s main section.

In the story, Simpson visits Dr. Weakland’s GCS office where the two discuss the patient’s imminent transition from chemotherapy to radiation treatment. Dr. Weakland is quoted and pictured, both examining Simpson and demonstrating a self-injection.

“Rebecca’s Story” began receiving attention from readers immediately. A follow-up story, which appeared in the AJC on October 19, says Simpson’s phone started ringing at 8:30 a.m. the morning the original story ran. Soon after, someone anonymously offered to pay Simpson’s rent for four months. Others sent flowers and cards, or showed interest in helping with errands and rides to medical appointments.

In addition, many readers contacted the AJC, sharing personal stories or expressing concern. “Rebecca, I am afraid, is only the tip of the iceberg,” wrote one reader.

The article, written by Patricia Guthrie, examines how factors such as race and financial status can influence a person’s access to both cancer testing and treatment. According to the article, blacks in Georgia are 27 percent more likely to die of cancer than whites. In metro Atlanta, black women die from breast cancer at a rate 67 percent greater than white women.

“Rebecca Simpson is the rule, not the exception, when it comes to cancer,” writes Guthrie.

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