Wife, mother, host parent – cancer survivor

Carol Golden, senior secretary of the social work department, opens up about her career, cancer and hopes


Photo by Karissa Berg

Carol Golden pictured at her desk.

By Rosie Perry, Staff Writer

Senior secretary of the social work department Carol Golden has been an active employee of the EWU campus since 1988 and has worked for several different offices, hosted foreign students and survived breast cancer throughout her time here.

Golden has many passions but her most beloved is that of international students. She began working with them when she worked in the office of Asia University America Program (AUAP). “When I was in AUAP I fell in love with the students themselves and the different cultures, so ever since then I have hosted somebody in my home, sometimes one, sometimes two students,” Golden said. “I started out with Japanese, then had Chinese and now have Saudi. I used to have only girls, now I have had some boys as well and they are just delightful.”

Golden said she feels international students don’t get the full experience without living with an American family. She also said she is fortunate enough to have these students stay with her entirely through word of mouth of her previous students. “They learn our culture and we learn to appreciate them and their culture. I have learned so much about diversity from them,” Golden said.

Golden said she loves to travel and due to her relationship with a student she hosted from Japan, she and a friend were able to go to Japan and be hosted by the student’s family.

In 2000, only three months after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, Golden was diagnosed for the first time. She called an old friend who ended up moving in with her for nine years while she went through the treatment process.

In 2011 after surviving cancer once, Golden found another mass and immediately went to the doctor, beginning the treatment process once again.

Golden took the BRCA test, which tells if a person is genetically prone to these types of cancers, and tested positive for breast cancer, ovarian cancer and melanoma. After these results, Golden had her second mastectomy and underwent a preventative hysterectomy and then reconstruction at the same time.

Golden’s husband’s previous wife had passed away from breast cancer. When Golden was diagnosed the second time she said he was devastated and worried he was going to lose her as well. Golden told him, “You can’t worry about it, you can’t cry over it, it happens and I am not going to die.”

Golden said the most important thing to remember when someone is going through something like a severe illness is to never give up the fight. Getting from one day to the next and going through each treatment was most difficult for Golden, because the treatment is difficult and sometimes patients just don’t want to go.

She said she has two children of her own and six grandchildren between the two of them. She said she plans to see them all grow up and get married, as well as retire in a few years and travel all over the country with her husband on his Honda Goldwing motorcycle.

“If the cancer were to come back would I go through treatment again knowing I’d have to become sicker in order to heal and get better? I definitely would. I am a survivor and the blessings in my life far outweigh the negative. I am willing to support anyone else who may have questions about how to cope,” Golden said.