Debbie Young: Queen City Race for Life and Street Strut Ambassador

Debbie YoungIt took weeks for the news to sink in. 

“I was stunned. I was emotionless for a long time, then all of a sudden, it became real and very frightening.” 

That’s how Debbie Young, a senior lending assistant at Bank Plus, remembered when she first learned she had breast cancer in 2005. She was 43-years-old. 

After a mammogram performed by Meridian radiologist Dr. Sandra Pupa, Young would learn she had Stage 0 breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ. “Because my dear friend Dr. Sandi Pupa stayed on me about mammograms, my cancer could not have been detected any earlier,” she said. 

Young underwent a bilateral mastectomy after a confirmation open biopsy and took Tamoxifen, a drug that blocks the effects of the hormone estrogen in the breast tissue, for five years. 

She credits her support group for walking with her through her journey. “Again, Dr. Pupa was and is one of my biggest cheerleaders. My husband dropped everything to drive me back and forth to the doctor. My church family, Poplar Springs Drive United Methodist Church, showed up with cards, pies, paper plates, casseroles, you name it,” she said.  

Through it all, Young said her biggest revelation was that life is precious “and God is with me. Romans 8:38-39 became my meditation and my story.” 

Her advice to others: “Get your mammogram.” 

She added, “Never ever be afraid of receiving a bad report. The early bad news is infinitely better than late bad news. Learn about risk factors and live a healthy lifestyle to minimize risk factors that are controllable. Take control of your health, stand tall, be assertive, be inquisitive, and be an advocate for your own health.” 

To learn more about the Queen City Race for Life & Street Strut, visit