BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, 17 News followed up with a story that aired over 25 years ago — how a woman who died of breast cancer left a recorded warning for her daughter.

Lea Brown was a producer at KGET in the ’90s, and worked with anchor Robin Mangarin-Scott to create not only a story for the news, but a home video for her daughter Crimson — to warn her about the dangers of the BRCA 1 and 2 genetic mutation. 

“People don’t go through this kind of thing for nothing. You know what I’m saying? So they can have some story to tell. I mean, I’ll have a testimony for sure, but I’m going to change lives through this,” Brown said in the original 1998 report.

Lea Brown played many roles: a gospel choir teacher, a promotions producer and the role she loved the most — being a mother. 

This was something that almost never happened. 

“Doctors told me you have to terminate the pregnancy because the baby won’t survive, and maybe neither will you…. and I said I’m more concerned with her living, than me living,” Brown stated about her treatment.

“I’m like, man, I wish I could have been in the room to watch her put her foot down like that. But I was. I was actually there! That is so, so inspiring to me,” Brown’s daughter Crimson Hochhalter said.

Brown decided on moving forward with treatment after she had her daughter, Crimson. Despite going through this rigorous treatment, she continued to go to work.

“This has been going on for months. You come in every day. You do your job, you have a smile on your face. You never look like anything is wrong. I never knew. And I think the majority of the people that we work with don’t know that what you’re going through,” Mangarin-Scott explained in the original raw footage interview with Lea Brown.

Upon doing a story on breast cancer, Mangarin-Scott at 17 News created something that Crimson would be able to hold onto throughout her lifetime: a tape of her own mother’s advice. 

“It was really insane to sit there and watch her on the screen moving and talking and to know that she went out of her way to sit down with Robin in that moment and have this interview for, trying to make sure that she touched on questions that would be answered in a way that would be beneficial to me 20 years later down the road,” Hochhalter said.

In Mangarin-Scott’s original raw footage, Brown has a scary realization:

“Crimson is very likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at an early age, just like I was. But what I want her to know is that my mom went through this. Her mom was going to screen everything that we can screen and protect her all the way, and it won’t be a surprise for her.”

She was right about the possibility. Crimson had the BRCA 1 and 2 genes.

To avoid the possibility of developing breast cancer, she had a double mastectomy at 24 years old. 

Led by the example of her mother — in the next few weeks, she’ll be turning the age that Brown was when she was first diagnosed.

“I am still just dumbfounded that she has been able to really impart those things on me while not being here physically. So I’m just commending her and thanking her constantly,” Hochhalter said.

Brown changed her daughter Crimson’s life through experience and knowledge, with a lot of it being witnessed off of a single VHS tape.

Without a doubt, her legacy lives on. 


Links for Life is just one resource for women who are concerned about their breast health. You can learn more about them here.