Running in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Jackson are, from left, Emmy Majure, Krystal Richardson, Casey Mars and Angela Fulton.
Running in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Jackson are, from left, Emmy Majure, Krystal Richardson, Casey Mars and Angela Fulton.
Despite her cancer diagnosis, Casey Mars crossed the finish line Saturday in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Jackson holding hands with a group of Philadelphia friends with tears in their eyes, running alongside her in an emotional show of support.

Donning their "Running for Casey" T-shirts, Angela Fulton, Leigh Ann Rush, Krystal Richardson and Emmy Majure joined their friend in the race, where all proceeds went to research, education, screening and treatment programs for breast cancer.

Mars wasn't expected to participate in the race initially, but she was able to make it in the end.

"We all came in together," Fulton said. "We held hands and crossed the finish line together."

She said the race, which honors breast cancer survivors, was very emotional.

"When we crossed the finish line we had tears in our eyes," she said.

Fulton described Mars as a strong woman.

Her case really had an impact on Fulton because of their close ages.

"She's been such a strong, amazing person," Fulton said. "She's an inspiration."

Mars' story begins the day before Christmas 2012 when she discovered a lump in her breast.

She visited a doctor on Jan. 10 and a next day biopsy resulted in a cancer diagnosis.

The mother of four has had seven chemotherapy treatments with nine more to go. Surgery is planned for this summer.

"Hopefully the nightmare will be behind us," Mars said.

Her faith has greatly helped her through this trying time.

"God had a plan," she said.

Despite her illness, Mars has maintained a normal life, continuing to work at Laird Hospital in Union as a lab manager and visiting Ole Miss to watch all the home baseball games.

"I've had a lot of community support," Mars said, "from meals, to prayers, to a pat on the back."

Family has also played a big part in her recovery, including her mother-in-law who helps with the children and her church family, which has provided much support.

Mars said her husband Adam has been her "rock during this roller coaster" experience.

"I've gone from fear to anger and then I woke up one morning with peace in my heart," Mars said. "Everything's fine now. I haven't cried since Jan. 12."

Mars said it would take a year before she is completely cured.

One of the most obvious signs of her illness is the loss of her hair.

She said losing her hair was not that big of a deal for her sons because of their young age, but her daughter will always remember it.

She recalled shopping for wigs with her daughter.

They ordered some great wigs, which Mars wore a few times before her hair loss to get accustomed to them.

"When the time came to actually wear the wigs, my daughter asked me not to," she said. "I haven't worn them since."

Despite the loss of hair, Casey has remained positive, hoping her hair will grow back before the end of summer.

"I hope to have hair by the Fair," she said. "Hopefully it will be bleached blonde."

Casey has also maintained her hobbies, including running everyday.

"I try to stay normal," she said.

"I'm a runner by nature and I've been doing it since college."

She's even maintained her status as a die-hard Ole Miss fan, visiting the school to watch all of this season's baseball games.

"I wouldn't miss them before and I won't now," she said. "Hopefully I'll be cancer free by football season."

Despite her illness Casey has remained positive.

I'm gonna be around a while," she said. "This is just a bump in the road."

Casey and Adams have four children:

Jax, Alex, Maddox and Mary Montgomery.