Over the 25 years Karin McCay and Abner Euresti have been anchoring and reporting at NewsChannel 11, they've touched many lives and have befriended numerous people. Tonight we look back at a HealthWise series that illustrated a daughter's dream and her mother's final wishes.
Lynnetta Hibdon began her fight with inflammatory breast cancer nearly three years ago. It was her dream to promote awareness for one of the most lethal types of breast cancer, which is very difficult to detect. Her husband, Tommy, contacted Karin to help with that quest.
From there, Tommy and Lynnetta, along with their daughter Kati, developed a close relationship with Karin, who documented Lynnetta's every step until she passed away in May 2004. And now, 10-year-old Kati and Tommy say thank you to Karin and Abner in their own words.
Almost two years ago an 8-year-old, Kati Hibdon, said, "I just say God, help me and my mom get through this."
She was talking about her mother, Lynnetta, who had just been diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. Lynnetta lost that battle in May 2004.
Kati is now ten and growing into a young woman and, because of Karin McCay, Kati and her father have a constant reminder of Lynnetta.
"She's something bigger in our family than just a news reporter and I'll be thankful to her for the rest of my life," said Tommy.
Lynnetta was the focus of a series of Karin's HealthWise stories. For nearly two years, they documented her fight with IBC. It started as a way to promote awareness, urging woman to get regular mammograms or making them aware of the warning signs, but now, it's a way for Kati and Tommy to see Lynnetta's smile and hear her voice.
"Karin plays a very big part of that because we do have stories that we can look back to and go back to and accentuate the positives of a very negative situation," said Tommy.
Kati stood by her mother's side always helping. She started the "Lynnetta Hibdon Support Team," selling t-shirts and hats to raise money for her mom's treatment. Kati and Karin developed a tight bond, one they still share. "We go to the movies, we go eat lunch, sometimes I'll go over to her house and make cookies and stuff," said Kati.
In the end, it was Karin Tommy turned to. "The last few hours of Lynnetta's life were difficult and I didn't want Kati to see that. So Kati was actually with Karin when we had to say good bye to Lynnetta. That just speaks to the trust we developed with her. It's just impossible to put into words what these people do for the community and what they've done for my family," said Tommy.
For the Hibdon's, the HealthWise stories started as an effort to save lives and has since turned into a lasting friendship with a woman Kati now calls "Aunt Karin."
"To help a woman catch it early was always Lynnetta's dream. Through the stories and Kati's efforts and a lot of other good people, like Karin and Abner, that job's a lot easier for us," said Tommy.
Almost two years after Lynnetta's stories started airing, they're still helping others. Tommy has been contacted by people from Australia, the Netherlands and England who saw the stories online. The Hibdon's also have a family friend who is now being treated for inflammatory breast cancer. She recognized the symptoms partly because of Karin's HealthWise stories.
Kati tells NewsChannel 11 she is thinking of becoming a reporter since she spent so much time at KCBD and with Karin and Abner.