Wendy Anderson, the wife of Arkansas State Red Wolves football coach Blake Anderson, died Monday at the age of 49 after a prolonged battle with breast cancer.
Coach Blake Anderson took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to announce that Wendy died on Monday night after a two-year struggle with breast cancer.
“My beautiful girl has gone home to be with Jesus… no more pain, no more suffering and praise Him no more cancer,” Anderson tweeted. “She passed as peacefully & gracefully as you could ever hope just a few minutes before midnight with me laying right beside her.”
— Blake Anderson (@CHbanderson) August 20, 2019
Wendy celebrated her 49th birthday on August 15, only four days before she passed away.
PLEASE help me wish a BIG Happy Birthday to my best friend, my wife, & my love Wendy Leann Anderson… absolutely the toughness most amazing person I’ve ever known. So blessed to spend my life w you Babe @2day4fun ❤️ pic.twitter.com/vK8D1udqnA
— Blake Anderson (@CHbanderson) August 15, 2019
Blake Anderson took an indefinite leave of absence from his duties as Arkansas State football coach Monday to tend to his wife. David Duggan, the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator, is serving as interim coach while Blake is away.
Wendy was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 2017 and was declared free of the illness later in the year after treatment. But it returned in the fall of 2018 and she was diagnosed with Stage 4 triple-negative breast cancer.
The cancer spread rapidly to her lymph nodes, liver and lungs. She underwent surgery to remove the tumors, but things took a turn for the worse in the months before her death.
People have been saying their condolences on Twitter. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson also took to Twitter this morning to share his condolences.
Through her faith and strength Wendy Anderson turned death into victory. @CHbanderson, the whole state shares your loss and we are blessed to witness your love and commitment to a wonderful lady.
— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) August 20, 2019
Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas also paid tribute.
Deeply saddened to hear of Wendy Anderson’s passing. May God welcome her into His loving embrace and give comfort to Coach Anderson and his family. https://t.co/eU1DweuhEp
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) August 20, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers are with Coach Blake Anderson, his wife Wendy and their entire family during this difficult time. https://t.co/eRiThqIhVG
— Arkansas Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) August 20, 2019
Paula and I cannot express our condolences enough to Coach Anderson and his entire family. To say our thoughts are with you is an understatement. Thank you for being an example of light in a moment of darkness. #NotFightingAlone https://t.co/M14tcLiUxN
— Chad Morris (@coachchadmorris) August 20, 2019
This morning, @CHbanderson said goodbye to his wife Wendy of twenty seven years as her battle with cancer ended and she went home to heaven. Please pray for Coach Anderson and his family as they mourn the loss of Wendy and her courageous fight against cancer.
— Rep Rick Crawford (@RepRickCrawford) August 20, 2019
— LB (@LoganBaneBonner) August 20, 2019
— Austin Kellerman (@AustinKellerman) August 20, 2019
What is triple-negative breast cancer?
Triple-negative breast cancer, according to Breastcancer.org, is a relatively rare form of aggressive cancer that tests negative for estrogen and progesterone receptors, as well as for an excess of a type of protein called HER2 protein.
What this means is that the growth of the cancer is not being caused by estrogen, progesterone or HER2 protein, which is what happens with other forms of breast cancer. As a result, triple-negative breast cancer does not respond to treatment based on hormonal therapy medicines designed to target HER2 protein receptors.
This form of breast cancer constitutes only about 10-20 percent of breast cancer cases.