Fri, Aug 12, 2022 at 01:37 PM
Local woman leaving a legacy of hope through God’s love
Rebecca Masdon’s sparkling smile and bubbly personality endears her to anyone around her. Her youth and beauty seem to radiate good health. A faith-based marriage to a local physician and many close friendships round out the picture of a young woman who appears to be living a great life. And she is, by all accounts, despite the fact that Rebecca is living with terminal cancer.
That life-altering diagnosis is not keeping her down. It is not stealing her joy. Instead, she is moving ahead with a grace that belies the illness threatening her very existence. She is determined – despite what lies ahead – to Be the Light for those around her.
She did exactly that recently with a fundraiser in Guntersville. Once all the cash donations had been counted and the online support totaled, close to $20,000 was delivered to the Marshall Cancer Care Center, to the surprise and delight of the staff.
“It’s a little something to help somebody,” Rebecca said to a very grateful Andrea Oliver, director of The Foundation for Marshall Medical Centers, and Traci Stewart, director of the Cancer Care Center. “The point is to be the light.”
“Rebecca’s extraordinary generosity in the midst of her own cancer journey exemplifies her desire to shine light in the darkest corners,” Oliver said. “Her gift will play a critical role in the Foundation’s ability to provide assistance to our cancer patients in need and give them hope when they need it most.”
Pam Veal, patient navigator, explained that the donation could help patients who have financial needs to cover cancer-related costs from medication to gas for driving to treatments.
“You’ve made my job easier,” she told Rebecca. “You’re making the difference.”
“Rebecca is the definition of a difference maker,” she said. “Rebecca is God-centered with her actions and words. This generous donation will help many patients of the Cancer Center. We are sincerely grateful!”
School teachers Rebecca Foley and Jennie Baker accompanied their friend to the Cancer Center to make the donation, just as they were at her side there for her first chemo treatment.
Walking through the center – which was built in 2013 largely with donations in a community effort to bring cancer care to the Marshall County area – Oliver told Rebecca she would like to commemorate the donation with a commissioned piece of art, possibly a lighted glass sculpture symbolizing Rebecca’s mission of Being the Light.
Rebecca grew up, as she says, all around North Alabama. She started college in Mississippi planning to become an elementary teacher until she was recruited into the world of retail. She managed clothing stores, worked as a traveling store manager, opened her own store for a time and even sold cars. She never considered moving back to north Alabama until she met Dr. Jimmy Lee Masdon, of Masdon ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery in Boaz. During a romantic trip to Los Angeles, he proposed in Tiffany’s on Rodeo Drive. The couple married just weeks later and will celebrate five years together this year.
“It’s been a lot of adventure and surprise,” Rebecca says with her signature beaming smile.
It’s important to the Masdons that their marriage is centered on God. That means devotionals every morning as well as letters and gifts to each other to affirm their faith.
“The Lord has brought us together to do His work.”
When she first got a cancer diagnosis in 2020, Rebecca says she had peace about it. She didn’t feel anger, she didn’t feel sorry for herself and she didn’t question, ‘Why me?’
“I knew it was an assignment,” she says. “I knew this was what I was to be doing.”
Sickness was not going to be her story; rather it would be a platform for ministry. After all, she had prayed to be useful.
“Out of suffering comes a knowledge of the cross,” Rebecca says. “It’s a badge of honor. I’ve been chosen for a special assignment not everyone can handle.”
Word of Rebecca’s situation is having an impact on the local area. In addition to the overwhelming response to her fundraiser, Rebecca’s friends have staged a backyard vigil to pray for her and lightbulb tattoos are being inked in support of her cause.
“It’s touching so many people’s lives,” she says with awe. “It’s a positive. I just have so much to be thankful for. I feel like this is my community – like I’ve been called to be a beacon of this community.”
When she decided to do a fundraiser in July, she knew right away the recipient of her mission.
“The Cancer Center is keeping me alive,” through earlier chemotherapy and radiation treatments to the current medication for pain management and to hopefully slow the disease. “It’s a big part of my story.”
Stephanie and Damon Hadwin, owners of Hadwin House, wanted to do a celebration for Rebecca at their store in downtown Guntersville. But Rebecca – always mission-minded - convinced them to make it a fundraiser for Marshall Cancer Care Center. She restructured her fashion-oriented website into a fundraising site with a goal of $5,000. On the day of the event, the original goal was reached by afternoon as online contributions poured in. More than 200 people – locals plus some from as far as outside the state - showed up at the event to enjoy live music and beautiful food platters. Rebecca was overwhelmed.
“I was left in awe at all the people God has let me bring together,” she said. “I have a heart of inclusion. That’s my gift – bringing people together for a great cause.”
Though it doesn’t show, Rebecca does have pain as the cancer aggressively moves through her body attacking her spine, liver and skin. She endures it with the knowledge that people are seeing God’s light through her and are moved to support her mission. She prays for the light to shine for all the time she has left.
“It’s the Lord’s light you see in me,” she said. “I try to keep my ego out of the way so He can shine.”