Peggy's Story

Peggy and Jeff AlbrightSometimes people come in to your life and you instantly know that they will leave an impression on you for the rest of your life. This person is someone that draws you to them, someone that teaches you when you don't even realize it, someone that makes you a better man, father and husband. The person that came into my life was Margaret (Rounds) Albright, (Peggy). My name is Jeffrey Albright, her husband, and this is her story and the reason The Peggy Albright Foundation was formed.

Peggy was born June10, 1975 to Beverly and David Rounds. Peggy had a normal happy childhood surrounded by her parents and her younger brother Aaron, and a very large extended family.

Peggy graduated from Groveport Madison High School in 1993. She then enrolled at The Ohio State University in the fall of 1993. Peggy worked several jobs to put herself through college. In August of 1997 she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology and Early Childhood Development.

I met Peggy while working at the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Columbus, Ohio. We became very close friends over the next few years. After returning from a business trip in early 1996, I made a prediction to her that we would be married in 2 years. This was a pretty bold move because, at the time, we were both dating other people. On her 21st birthday, we went on our first date and we never looked back. We had each found our soul mate. We were married 3 years later. My prediction was a year off.

Being in the hotel industry, we moved several times the next few years. While living in Pennsylvania we got the news she was pregnant. Soon after, we moved back to Columbus. On September 21, 2001 Christian Thomas Albright was born. The following year we purchased our first home. Three great years would pass and she became pregnant with our second son. We were living the dream. The American dream was ours. Our dreams would soon come crashing down.

Late in her pregnancy, Peggy found a rather large lump on her left breast. Doctors believed it was probably a clogged milk duct. The chances of a 29-year-old women getting breast cancer was 5%. On June 20, 2005, our second son Gabriel Paul was born. He had several health issues and had to spend six weeks in Columbus Children's Hospital. Once Gabriel was home, Peggy went for her follow up appointment. The lump that she found was not getting smaller. At this point, a biopsy was performed.

The biopsy was done in early August and we received the results a week later. It was the worst news we could have ever expected. She had a 4-centimeter cancerous mass on her left breast. We were told that it was very rare for someone Peggy's age, (30 at this point) to have such a large mass. She chose her oncologist and we were given several different treatment options. We wrote everything down, making sure we understood everything. She decided to have chemotherapy. The hope was to shrink it or as a last resort, have a mastectomy.

Peggy went through several rounds of chemotherapy, lasting about 24 weeks. With minimal success with the chemotherapy, our only option was a double mastectomy. On March 3, 2006, Peggy had a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. The doctors thought that the cancer was completely removed, margins were good and her lymph nodes were clean. After a long recovery, we resumed our lives. Peggy was finally able to spend more time with her boys, especially Gabriel. Since being diagnosed she was not able to spend as much time with him as she wanted. Life was good again.

In early September of 2006, Peggy began to have problems with her vision. After visiting several doctors she was told she might need special glasses to correct her vision. Soon after, a facial palsy appeared on the left side of her face, which prompted several scans to determine the cause. What they found changed our lives forever. On October 5, 2006, we received the news that the cancer had returned, much more aggressively. The cancer was in her legs, her lungs and there was a mass pressing on a nerve in her brain. The diagnosis was terminal; they gave her 2 to 5 years to live.

Peggy began multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation to fight this disease or at least, hold on as long as she could. Through it all, she remained a strong person, with integrity and a sense of humor. With a beautiful smile and strong faith, she never asked why and plowed through life living each day to the fullest.

Near the end of November 2007, our friends wanted to do "something" for us. Peggy's only wish was to quit work so that she could spend time with her family, especially her boys. It was after this conversation that "Peggy's Wish" was formed.

"Peggy's Wish" is a group of my closest life long friends. Their goal was to make Peggy's wish of staying home with her boys a reality. On January 26, 2008, a benefit was held with nearly 500 people in attendance. This was a testament to Peggy and how she lived her life. The event was amazing, and Peggy had a great time visiting with all of her family and friends. The Peggy's Wish team did a fantastic job with everything and when it was all said and done, Peggy was granted her wish to stay at home with her boys.

Unfortunately, the time she had remaining was very short. In early March 2008, Peggy found out that the cancer had spread throughout her body including her liver and brain. She spent the last few weeks of her life saying goodbye to everyone and preparing her sons for life with out her. She was an amazing mother, wife and friend.

On March 24, 2008, Peggy went to a hospice center, the Kobacher House. In typical Peggy fashion she waited for everyone to come and say goodbye to her. On March 27, 2008 at 5:45 pm, my beloved wife took her last two breaths and passed away in my arms.

Over the next few days I knew that I could not let this be the end. After speaking with my friends "The Peggy's Wish Crew", a decision was made to form a foundation. "Peggy's Wish, The Peggy Albright Foundation" was formed. The mission is to help comfort young breast cancer patients like Peggy. After an initial meeting, we came up with items that my wife held so dear during her entire treatment. The items include: the hat she chose to wear instead of a wig, a blanket for those chemotherapy days at the center, a journal to chronicle her questions, appointments and thoughts, and a bag to keep it all together.

Some people may wonder about our slogan "It's a good day". It was on October 6, 2006, the morning after we learned that Peggy's cancer had returned. As I woke up next to her, I told her "It's a good day". Peggy asked why, I said, "Because I got to wake up next to the person I love". This became our saying and we did have many good days after.

We at The Peggy Albright Foundation hope that you too are able to say, "It's a good day".

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