The first female Mayor on either side of Texarkana, Ruth Penney Bell, Arkansas side mayor came from humble beginnings that taught her to rely on faith and hard work. In 2016 she was diagnosed with Breast cancer, she has since had it removed but she never let that stop her or get her down.
“Breast cancer was blip on the radar screen,” said Mayor Bell.
Her sister-in-law had been diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years prior, and she helped take care of her during those times. So, the procedures and treatment were very familiar to her when she was diagnosed, so she knew exactly where she needed to start.
Usually once you reach a certain age they do not require you to have a yearly mammogram anymore, but her gynecologist recommended it, and that’s when she was told she had breast cancer. She had gone the year before and she was fine, and she hadn’t had a family history of breast cancer, so it was such a shock to her.
“I want to stress how important it is for young women to get their yearly mammogram,” said Mayor Bell, “I want everyone to know just how important it really is.”
She said she was blessed that her cancer was detected early and she was able to have a lumpectomy and remove it all, as well as radiation therapy. The Dr. warned her that it may comeback in a few years because it was an estrogen fed tumor. She has since been cancer free and hasn’t had any complications.
She said that her faith, family, friends, and the entire community were such a big part of getting her through this tough time. Everybody helped me, it was like everything worked together for the good said Mayor Bell. She said her favorite verse in all of the Bible is Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.”
Mayor Bell said if she had to point out one person she said it would be her good friend Linda Matthews, who is a part-time secretary at City Hall, because she was a great guide to her through it all. Matthews had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, and she was there for Mayor Bell every step of the way and answered any questions she had.
Mayor Bell loves serving her city and community and has always stayed strong in her faith even on the face of adversity. She wants to thank you all for your kind words, prayers, and encouragement throughout this journey. She urges all women to have their regular checkups because catching it early will greatly affect the outcome in the long run.
“Life is good, I don’t have a complaint,” said Mayor Bell, “I’ve probably lived about as charmed a life as anybody could.”