SAN ANTONIO – Kathryn Brown spent her 20s and most of her 30s in the hospital treating one cancer known as the silent killer and another that took her mother at an early age.
"I had to pull out my inner strength and fight this. I had to (and) here we are 15 years later, I celebrate surviving ovarian and (then) breast cancer."
When Brown was 23 years old and playing softball with friends, she felt a sharp pain in her pelvic area. After taking a pregnancy test that came back positive, Brown's encouraging news turned devastating.
"I wasn't pregnant with a baby, I was pregnant with a tumor. The ovarian cancer tumor sends off a positive pregnancy test," Brown said.
Brown spent more than a year battling ovarian cancer, also known as the silent killer.
However, 12 years later, Brown's inner strength was tested yet again but this time it was while serving with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.
"I started out in the (Bexar County) jail and within three months, I became a member of the Special Emergency Response Team (or SERT). I was on that team for a couple years until I contracted breast cancer," she said.
It was the same disease that took her mother's life at the age of 25. Brown attributes her survival to listening to her body and immediately getting it checked, catching breast cancer early at stage 2.
"My mom didn't listen to her body (and) she ignored it. I decided to take a different route than she did and be more proactive because I've seen three deaths as a result of cancer in my immediate family," Brown said. "I wanted the buck to stop with me."
Brown's survival story, along with three other female BCSO deputies who also fought breast cancer while wearing the badge, inspired Sheriff Javier Salazar to honor them during the month of October.
The month is a time where many across the world spread the awareness of breast cancer and honor the victims of the disease by wearing the color pink.
For the first time in the agency history, BCSO taking part in the fight against breast cancer.
"When we put this pink patch on, it is going to validate our journey because all of us got cancer while we were here, all of us treated cancer while we were here and all of us survived cancer while working at the Bexar County Sheriff's Office," Brown said.
Brown, a BCSO sergeant who supervises the department's recruiting team and has been cancer-free for 15 years, is sharing her story with the people she meets at the workplace and in the public while also spreading awareness.
When asked, "Who is Sgt. Brown?" she answers the question the only way she knows how: With a fighter mentality.
"Sergeant Brown is a person that would tell you cancer is a word, not a sentence. It means that: It came, I fought it and I won," she said.
"It was a small little word that didn't define my entire life."
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and in support of #BCSO survivors BCSO deputies are authorized to wear pink patches for the month of October. This is the first time in the history of the #BCSO pink patches have been authorized for Breast Cancer support and awareness. #SheriffSalazar gifted special survivor pink patches to BCSO’s survivors present.Posted by Bexar County Sheriff's Office on Monday, October 1, 2018