For Bonnie Mott, her husband's death puts cancer in perspective


Published: Wednesday, March 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 28, 2006 at 10:46 p.m.
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Bonnie Mott, of Gainesville, who overcame breast cancer eight years ago, is modeling in the Cure by Design fashion show for the first time. She is pictured wearing the clothes from Dillard's that she will be modeling.

JARRETT BAKER/Special to The Sun

Facts

Fund-raiser is Sunday

  • What: 16th Annual Cure By Design, a fashion show fund-raiser for the Alachua Unit of the American Cancer Society, featuring 100 cancer survivors as models
  • When: 5 p.m. Sunday
  • Where: Phillips Center for Performing Arts, UF campus
  • Tickets: $15 for fashion show only; $100 for show and catered cocktail buffet reception and silent auction at 6:15 p.m. at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Auction items include an autographed Lance Armstrong jersey and a dinner with UF coaches Urban Meyer and Billy Donovan.
  • Contact: 376-6866, ext. 110

  • Bonnie Mott has a brave smile. Mott, who will model in her first Cure By Design show on Sunday, is recounting her battle with breast cancer in 1998. But it's a much more recent pain that causes her eyes to fill.
    Mott's husband of 34 years, Larry, died of a heart attack in January at age 56. The two were high school sweethearts, dating their senior year at Gainesville High School.
    "He had been excited about (Cure By Design)," Mott says.
    Larry, who was pastor of Faith United Methodist Church, was also Mott's partner in changing her diet and exercise after she was diagnosed.
    During the summer of 1998, Mott noticed that part of the skin on her left breast was dimpled. Doctors discovered a 2-centimeter tumor growing beneath the skin and diagnosed her with Stage II breast cancer.
    "When you're first diagnosed, you don't know what to think," Mott says.
    She had two surgeries to remove the cancer, then began a course of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Though she suffered from fatigue, and radiation caused the skin of her breast to blister, Mott continued her work as owner of Prudential Preferred Properties of Gainesville.
    "I thought the best thing for me to do was keep working," she says.
    Mott thought she had found a silver lining to the treatment: She figured, "Well, at least I'll lose some weight," she says. Then doctors informed her that the type of chemotherapy she would receive actually causes patients to retain fluids. She gained 20 pounds, but now chuckles at the added insult.
    Since completing treatment in March 1999, Mott has had no reappearance of the cancer, and she has gotten involved with the American Cancer Society, participating in Relay for Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Though she still feels apprehensive that the cancer might have returned when it comes time for her mammogram each year, she doesn't let it control her life.
    "You pack it away in the back of your mind," she says.
    Mott has put breast cancer behind her; and in retrospect, it now pales in comparison to the grief she feels over the loss of her husband.
    "Time will help this, too," she says. Now, as then, she relies on the support of friends and her three children, Greg, Candy and Travis, who all live in Gainesville.
    "I have lots of friends and they've been keeping me busy," Mott says. "It'd be real easy to just withdraw."
    And, as she did during her illness, Mott has continued working since her husband's death.
    "You just keep on going," she says. "Everything just keeps going."

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