Help Panel Built, Inc. Raise Breast Cancer Awareness!

Richard Sarrell and Debbie Laster

October 1st marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and considering the recent experience one of Panel Built’s own, we feel a duty to share her story and do whatever we may to raise awareness! Fortunately, her story is a successful one; but there are countless others who are not so lucky.

If there was only one message we can get across it would be this, “It’s never too early to visit your doctor.”

Just recently, our very own Debbie Laster completed 6 ½ weeks of radiation therapy for her breast cancer, and never took a sick leave. Now Debbie wishes to share her story and with Panel Built’s help, campaign for increased Breast Cancer Awareness by encouraging everyone to take preventative measures.

Many women think with no family history of breast cancer, that they are safe. Debbie had no family history of breast cancer; and though she was pretty consistent with her yearly checkups, she eventually had a 2-3 year lapse in her examinations. No big deal, right?


Upon her next visit to her physician, Debbie was thrown a curveball. Though not a very noticeable difference, the doctor noticed something she did not like during the examination. Debbie was then sternly advised to undergo further examination.

The exam returned a dreaded result. Debbie had breast cancer.

However, because Debbie got examined and discovered the cancer early, the prognosis was positive. Debbie has Stage 1 breast cancer, and a 1/8 inch tumor, considered very treatable when detected early. Regardless, Debbie was devastated. “Anytime you hear the word cancer, you have the fear of death.”

“But attitude is everything.”


Debbie says she cried the first day after hearing the news, but she decided then that she would just pray and have faith that God would bring her through. Panel Built was a wonderful support network,” Debbie said, “not a day went by when someone didn’t offer to help in some way or the other.” Fellow Panel Built Inc. employees constantly offered their kind words and their services, whether it was someone to talk to or simply just a ride to the treatment facility. Debbie also praised Panel Built, Inc. President Mike Kiernan for his personal commitment to helping Debbie along the way. A devoted Christian as well, Mike’s faith, as well as his strong moral fiber, made him an excellent mentor and voice of comfort for Debbie throughout her treatment.

The entirety of Debbie’s treatment was done locally. Debbie’s radiation therapy was done at the Georgia Center for Total Cancer Care at Union General, and her lumpectomy surgery was done by Dr. Steve Efird of Blairsville, GA.

Successful treatment was made possible by Debbie’s willingness to get checked early and often; and she wants to encourage EVERYONE to do the same. For the American Cancer Society guidelines for early detection of breast cancer, please visit the American Cancer Society website at

Debbie is proud to be 100% cancer free and is now determined to spread awareness. Please help Debbie and Panel Built in doing so by donating, volunteering, or just forwarding this article on.

For a direct link to the ACS Breast Cancer screening guidelines, please visit

Also, for updates on our efforts to raise Breast Cancer Awareness, visit Panel Built\’s Facebook page at:

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