An Alexandria couple married for 55 years are facing a new challenge together. They've both been diagnosed with breast cancer -- but they're not letting the disease bring them down.
He's going fishing in Alaska she's headed to play the slots in Atlantic City... Life goes on. And with a few jokes too.
Colonel Bill and Bettie Daknis are as lively as they come. They met in high school and became friends first. They've raised four sons and have a brood of grandkids.
But after 55 years of marriage, they had an unexpected "first" -- both of them were diagnosed with breast cancer: First Betty, in 2008, and then, this past June, so was Bill.
After chemo and a lumpectomy, Bettie is cancer-free. "I came out of it whole," she said.
Bill is undergoing chemo now and has already had a mastectomy.
"She never told me it was contagious. I'm a little ticked off at her about that," Bill Daknis joked.
After the shock wore off, support was instantaneous.
"Every time I went for chemo or radiation or whatever they were doing, he would be with me. And I'm doing the same for him," said Bettie Daknis.
Bill quickly took to emailing his family and friends, particularly men -- "and told them, 'don't ignore the lumps'," Bettie said.
They say they're a couple joined by faith and humor, and they're winning this rare battle, together, one laugh at a time.
According to the National Cancer Institute, men of any age can develop breast cancer, but it's typically found among those around 60-70 years of age.
Male breast cancer makes up less than 1 percent of all cases of breast cancer.