Postmaster Pens a Fitting Tribute in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

By • October 13, 2012

Every week Mt. Pleasant, TN, Postmaster Robert Wakefield writes a column for a local newspaper, The Daily Herald in Columbia, TN.

His most recent columns dealt with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the semipostal Breast Cancer Research stamp and a young mother — Andrea Spears.

Andrea’s Army

Over the years of writing this column, I always set aside the first article in October to promote the Breast Cancer Research First-Class semipostal stamp. As you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I feel this is the perfect time to mention this stamp.

The stamp was first introduced in 1998 and was the first semipostal stamp ever issued in the United States. A semipostal stamp is a stamp with a surcharge above the postage price to fund a worthy cause. Since its introduction, the stamp has raised more than $71 million for breast cancer research. By law, 70 percent of the net amount raised is given to the National Institutes of Health and 30 percent is given to the Medical Research Program at the Department of Defense.

Once a year I encourage folks to buy the research stamp for the good cause it supports. The way I figure it is this, if you are going to buy stamps anyway, why not buy these stamps once a year to help this worthy cause.
Over two decades ago, Gary and Lynetta Anderson, moved their family from Flint, MI, to Columbia, TN, due to a little factory known as the Saturn Plant. It was at church that I got to know this fine family and we have been friends ever since.This year, it’s a little more personal; I have joined an army.

Andrea was the youngest girl of the family at that time and it was a pleasure watching her grow up —from a youngster to teenager to college grad to young wife. She married her high school sweetheart, Jamie Spears, in May of 2002, and they started a family.

Two sweet girls, Kinsley and Karley, were added to the Spears’ family. When another child was on the way, the pregnancy was difficult. Andrea fought her way through all of the complications that accompanied this pregnancy and on June 1, 2010, little Anderson Spears was born.

Then a new battle emerged. Shortly after giving birth to Anderson, it was discovered the Andrea had breast cancer. Instead of being down and depressed, Andrea began her latest quest — to win the fight against this terrible disease.

Image of breast cancer research semipostal stamp

After surgeries followed by intensive chemotherapy, Andrea has shown great courage and bravery. Her positive attitude is very contagious.

“Andrea’s Army” was founded as a support group for her. This group is made up of friends, family, and co-workers and they participated in the Centerville Relay for Life and a “platoon” from the pediatric clinic participated in the Columbia Relay for Life. You can read about all of the struggles and triumphs that Andrea has experienced on the blog she has written at spearsfamilyblog.blogspot.com.

I am happy to report that Andrea has come a long way. Her chemotherapy treatments are behind her and she will soon start radiation treatments. She continues to make progress and that is certainly good news.

Now, if you will excuse me, I must report for duty because, as a member of Andrea’s Army, my official position is Private First Class Breast Cancer Research Stamp seller. It is a position I gladly accept.

Just bought my research stamps and beside each stamp I use, I am going to write the two words, “Andrea’s Army.”

Keep fighting Andrea. You’ve got a whole army supporting you.

© 2014 Marilyn Jones. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Marilyn Jones.

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About the Author (  |   )

Marilyn Jones has been a journalist for more than 30 years and is currently a freelance feature writer specializing in travel. Her articles have appeared in major newspapers including the BostonGlobe, Akron Beacon Journal and Chicago Sun-Times as well as regional travel magazines. Visit her website at travelwithmarilyn.com

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