Author, Encouraged, (2014)
News anchor/reporter for ABC 33/40
Two-time breast cancer survivor
Recipient of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure award, the American Cancer Society’s Life Inspiration Award and award for Best TV Coverage
Associated Press Awards: Emmy nomination for Best Anchor and the Edward R. Murrow Award for radio & TV journalism
Founded the Brenda LaDun 5K/1 Mile Conquer Cancer Run
B.A., Univ. of South Florida, Mass Communications
Surviving Cancer Reveals TV News Anchor's Purpose
Brenda grew up in a Christian home near Philadelphia, PA. She always loved the Lord but gave her life to Him after watching Billy Graham on TV. She never meant to be on television but now knows it is her platform for her message. As a news anchor, Brenda spent five days a week on the six and ten o’clock news. She met her husband, Doug, when she was interviewing for an anchoring position in Gainesville. In 2000, Brenda’s news station sponsored free mammograms for employees. Her test was clear. Then in January 2001, Brenda discovered a lump in her breast. One month earlier she had prayed God would help her find her mission in life. Two weeks after discovering the lump in her breast, her second mammogram revealed white spots and a biopsy revealed that the cancer was further than initially suspected. Brenda and her doctors decided on a complete mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. A month later, Brenda taped an announcement for her day of surgery and aired it on the six o’clock news. “I didn’t know how people would react to my announcement of my cancer diagnosis,” says Brenda. “There was no time that week to think about anything except getting myself and my family prepared for the surgery.” In her honor, the station provided free mammograms at a local hospital. The next Saturday more than a hundred women got free mammograms at St. Vincent’s Mammography Center.
The morning of surgery, Brenda kept thinking about Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding” (NLT). On the day of her surgery, Brenda knew God was in control of everything in her life – not her! “I put all the worry and fear on Him, and I allowed the Lord to take away my fear.” She had a double mastectomy followed by chemotherapy. Throughout her treatments, she continued to work although it was challenging at times with the nausea and fatigue. “During the six p.m. news, I gave updates on my ongoing treatment and also produced a one-hour special on the cancer experience,” says Brenda. There were many days she was tired beyond belief yet she chose to continue the fight. Brenda says that healing is a choice, “Cancer puts a forked road in your path. You can choose to allow it to make you bitter, which is the easy choice…or you can choose to allow it to make you better spiritually.” Before her cancer, Brenda says things like hair, make up, furniture and new clothes were extremely important to her. “Now those things take a back seat to the really important things in life, like spending time with my friends and family, talking with someone who’s just been diagnosed with cancer, or taking care of myself by resting or running,” says Brenda. “Fussing over the little things in life like traffic jams or a burnt dinner just doesn’t seem worth it anymore.”
Brenda was diagnosed with cancer a second time in 2007. The cancer was detected in the same area as before (6 years earlier). She says this time it was worse because I knew what I was facing. I didn’t want cancer again. I didn’t want surgery. I didn’t want chemo,” shares Brenda. Through cancer she says God molded her, showed her blessings, and more. “Cancer helped open my eyes to the fact that every day is a gift from God, one that we can open and enjoy just as we would a Christmas present. Before cancer, I didn’t see the big picture; I only saw the busy work,” shares Brenda. The first time she had cancer she says she learned to trust God. The second time she was diagnosed with cancer God taught her about agape love. Brenda shares what she has learned with others going through life’s storms.
Brenda’s ministry of encouragement began with her cancer battle in 2001. A big part of her mission was to warn people about cancer, to urge early detection. Today she admits her mission field includes more than people with cancer, “I’m also here to encourage all people not to fear anything in this world. We all need encouragement, and that’s why we all are here. Grab hold of God and let go of fear.”
On April 27, 2011, Brenda was asked by her station to go cover the devastation in Cullman, Alabama after they were hit by a major tornado. As she drove into the storm and just barely passed the devastating tornado that had hit Tuscaloosa and Pleasant Grove minutes before, she felt an unusual peace. In the days prior to this incident, Brenda had been studying Psalm 91 which talks about how "God is our refuge.” She prayed for the safety of her family and herself, but had peace no matter the outcome. "I was in Cullman when a tornado was coming right at us," she said. "That verse just washed over me. God is there no matter how scary things get."
Brenda says, whether it's facing cancer or a tornado she believes faith helps. "I praise God. I'm looking at cancer in my rear-view mirror. Life goes on. You'll see blessings you never realized existed. God can take something bad and make something good." One year after covering the tornadoes New Hope contacted Brenda and asked her to develop a Bible study DVD (also called "Encouraged"). She says the Lord has her on a mission of encouraging others. “I found after speaking to many groups, many people need encouragement for life's storms. The Lord calls us to be encouragers,” shares Brenda.
CONQUER CANCER RUN
In 2005, Brenda founded the Brenda Ladun Conquer Cancer Run, now in its tenth year, which supports people with cancer. Proceeds from the fundraiser go to the American Cancer Society. “If I can do it anybody can do it,” says Brenda. The run was held March 1, 2014 and raised over $92,000 for the American Cancer Society. “Since battling cancer twice in thirteen years, and losing two friends in 2009 from this disease, I am more determined than ever before to reduce the pain and suffering caused from this illness,” says Ladun. “We are all in this fight together. I have faith that the human spirit is much stronger than cancer. I also believe if we join our forces, we could soon put an end to this deadly disease and raise that last dollar needed to find a cure.”
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.