Lulu Martin encourages all cancer sufferers to stay positive and stay active, enjoying the outdoors like Martin here at a recent trip to the Grand Canyon.

Reporter/Photographer

Laurie Martin, commonly known as Lulu by her friends, has been a pro-shop manager, a food and beverage manager, a hostess, a baker, a home-and-pet caretaker, and is now a breast cancer survivor. She lives her life in positivity, drawing inspiration from her friends and superheroes Monica Lambert and Caroline Markham, pillars of her strong support system.

Lulu’s cancer was detected in a non-traditional way about three years ago. While walking a friend’s dog, he accidentally gave her a quick and playful bite, which became infected. Perhaps the bite was good fortune after all. The cancer was found while Lulu was receiving IV antibiotics for the bite.

“I was healthy,” Martin said, “walking five to six miles every day, so cancer was far from my mind.”

Lea Way of Wickenburg Community Hospital Clinic encouraged Martin to seek out oncologist Dr. Zafar, who served as a primary care physician in Wickenburg many years ago. Her treatments, through Zafar’s care, involved six rounds of chemotherapy until August of 2015, with no serious side effects. She continues to take an occasional maintenance dose, along with acupuncture treatments by Judy Zobel. At this time, thankfully, her cancer is in remission, which means no new growth and no activity.

“They encouraged me to start taking a lot of supplements, so I went to Sprouts and happened to meet a clerk in that department who has also had cancer,” Martin said. “She helped me find the right combinations and the best supplement producers.”

The clerk, although a stranger at first, became another in a long line of support people who have surrounded Martin throughout her cancer struggle. Organic produce here in town has increased, due to the attention of the leadership team at Safeway, for which Martin is grateful. Her biggest support through this time has been William Smith, who she calls ‘my rock.”

“He’s been right with me all the way, a constant encouragement. I don’t know what I’d do without him,” she said.

Besides kicking cancer, Martin has had the honor of placing benches along the Arizona Trail, which was mapped by her brother Dale Shewalter. Local artist Pete Incardona created the benches, and so far she has placed them at Buffalo Park, Mormon Lake Village and Tusayan near the Grand Canyon. The bench at the Veteran’s Memorial at Wickenburg Cemetery is another Incardona creation. Martin’s brother died of a rare cancer caused by exposure to Agent Orange, and the benches are her way of remembering him, his life and his service to our country.

Martin’s encouragement to other cancer sufferers is to remain positive, stay surrounded by positive people, don’t isolate yourself, and find a mentor who has walked the road ahead of you.’

“I always ask myself what I can do for the other guy, knowing that someone else has it worse in life than me,” Martin said. “Even small acts of kindness like smiles can brighten a person’s day.”

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