CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Captain Makeda Young, with the U.S. Army is 28 years old. She’s a Charlotte native, hopes to have children one day, and looks forward to a long career in the military.
Earlier this year, Young’s health became a barrier to her achieving those goals.
“No one could exactly trace what was going on. I was relatively healthy. I was doing my normal, regular physical activity. But I had a lot of extreme fatigue and a lot of stomach issues,” Young said.
She was diagnosed with a form of cervical cancer. She thanks a doctor at Atrium Health’s Levine Cancer Institute for getting her back on track to reaching her dreams. Young showed her appreciation to the doctor through a Letter of Commendation from her unit, it’s a special recognition the military can give to a civilian for notable, reputable work.
“I am finally cancer-free,” Young said.
In December of 2017, Young was diagnosed with cancer. She could feel her health declining and was in pain. She needed help.
Young would go from doctor to doctor in search of a surgeon who could remove a tumor while also preserving her fertility, leaving her with the ability to have children.
That’s when she found Dr. Erin Crane, an Gynecological Oncologist who addresses women’s cancers.
“I have served as a commander, and deployed, but this by far was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. The reason I get to live on and continue my job as a Chemical Defense Officer is because of surgeons like Dr. Erin Crane,” Young said.
The doctor moved quickly.
Three days after the patient’s first appointment, Crane removed her malignant tumor. One month after that, Crane performed a Radical Trachelectomy.
“She has a rare specialty. For someone like her to be so calm, so knowledgeable while also being personable. She made me feel safe and comfortable and was able to explain everything,” Young said.
On Thursday, Young had her final post-op appointment with Crane. Fox 46 Charlotte was there to capture the special moment when Young presented a military recognition plaque to the doctor after the appointment ended.
In a separate patient room, Young stood behind a patient curtain with two friends from her military unit, and her Harding University High School JROTC First Sergeant mentor, who nearly ten years later pinned her Captain.
Crane’s staff escorted the doctor into the patient room, where she was visibly surprised.
“To have something like this is amazing and obviously overwhelming,” Crane said. “This by far is the most amazing honor, I mean, I’ll never forgot this.”
The military affiliated letter was put on a plaque and reads, “This command would like to take this opportunity to show our most heartfelt gratitude for your rare expertise and skill through the treatment of Captain Makeda Young. Your diligent actions in providing medical care is a testament of your selfless service and commitment to patient care. Your expertise was instrumental in preserving the life of a solider and protecting their future endeavors. It is with honor and privilege we extend our gratitude. You epitomize your motto, Ever-dependable.”
Young spoke with her military unit, 130th MEB Charlotte, to figure out a way to show appreciation for Crane’s work and they determined this recognition, which is rare, seemed fitting.
The plaque is just the first way Young is showing appreciation to Crane. She’s also a Vloger/YouTuber for her series titled, Ty M Carolina Weekly Moments. On her site, are videos from her followers and other people in the military thanking Crane for her work. People locally, nationally and internationally are sending in quick on-camera messages for the doctor.
“She deserves every bit of credit for saving my life,” Young said.
Young commissioned from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2011 through the University of North Carolina at A&T’s ROTC program. In the future she will apply for medical school this year in the hopes of becoming an physician and then branch into VA Healthcare.