Back in November, we told you about a 21-year-old Spokane woman who was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.
Since KHQ's story aired, a Liberty Lake business, with the help of the community, wanted to step in and help her with a simple gift that will make a big difference in her life. Her life has changed significantly since KHQ last interviewed her.
Consign Furniture wanted to help push her story even more to raise cancer awareness. Degraff entered a Facebook contest at Consign Furniture in need of a new couch. "Currently, I've been in bed due to the cancer being in my back and my hips, so the only comfortable place that I have to lie down is in my bed with lots of pillows," she said.
After hundreds of nominations, she was picked for the $3,000 giveaway. "I'm incredibly grateful. This gives me a whole new opportunity to be able to be a part of the family life," said Degraff.
Degraff says she's glad that she's able to spread a message that's been her mission since she was diagnosed: it doesn't matter what age you are, you need to check yourself.
"I've had people message me from other states saying, 'Thank you because of you, I've gone to the doctor' and that means so much to me," said Degraff.
The last few months have been difficult for Degraff because the cancer has gotten worse. "I did chemo for a few months and it led me to many days in bed and not very many days out of bed. I'm hoping to get better but it's not easy. Cancer is a horrible disease and it affects you in ways that you didn't know that it would," said Degraff.
Degraff still stands tall, with a smile on her face, meeting people she's never seen before and spreading her message with the time she has left. "Some people say (have told me) that they've gone to the doctor and the doctor is not acknowledging their concern because it is so rare, so I hope that doctors see my story and realize it does happen and they're not pushing away patients who do have a concern with their health even if it is small," said Degraff.
As part of the $3,000 giveaway, Degraff got to choose a charity to which she would donate $1,000. She chose the Union Gospel Mission Veterinary Clinic because she grew up volunteering with them. Degraff says it makes her happy in the days that she has left to give back and spread awareness to certain causes.
On top of Degraff's charitable donation to UGM, Consign Furniture employees wanted to match the amount and donate $1,000 to the Kootenai Humane Society.
(story: Andrea Olson, KHQ Local News Producer/Reporter; photo: KHQ.com)