RICHMOND, Va. -- At 69, Kathy Funk has gone through some of life's toughest battles -- times four.
"Three times breast cancer. One time thyroid cancer," Funk said.
The wife, mother of three and eight grandchildren was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 40. In 2006, another setback: thyroid cancer where her entire thyroid was removed.
"As a result of this surgery, I had a very deep voice as someone told me a very sexy voice for two months," Funk remembered.
But Funk's cancer battle wasn't over. A new breast cancer diagnosis came in 2011. A mammogram didn't find the tumor, but an MRI did.
"Luckily it was much smaller than the first time I was diagnosed," Funk sand.
Then in 2015, Funk was dealt another blow when she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the third time.
"I said mastectomy. That's the end of that," Funk recalled.
With each diagnosis, there was one constant in Funk's treatment. It started with a conversation with a nurse in her hometown of Prince George.
"She said to me, 'If you were my mother, I would send you to Massey Cancer Center,'" Funk said. "As naive as I was about cancer, I thought, 'This woman knows more than I do.'"
For a long time, Funk's journey has been a patient at Massey. Now she's a donor. In this season of giving, Funk is making a generous donation to Massey. It's a place she says saved her life.
"We have access to wonderful care. I'm so thankful for what they've done for me," Funk said. "I never thought I would be here this long."
Funk and her husband say research is the key. Their donation will go to research and projects that show the most promise for improving treatments for cancer patients.
On the 6th of the month, CBS 6 and VCU Massey Cancer Center remind women to contact their buddy to remind them to conduct a monthly breast self-exam. If it is time, you should also schedule an annual clinical breast exam and mammogram, which are key to early detection.