The July 14 season finale of Mama June: Family Crisis was supposed to be a happy episode — Mama June got married, and all four of her daughters walked her down the aisle before they celebrated her union with Justin Stroud — but just two weeks after June and Justin said “I do”, tragedy struck. June’s eldest daughter Anna “Chickadee” Cardwell learned she had cancer. And while viewers already knew that Anna was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer when they went into this week’s episode, this was the first time we saw how June and her other daughters reacted to the shocking news.
Two weeks after June’s wedding, Anna broke the news to June before asking June to help her deliver the news to her sisters, Lauryn “Pumpkin” Efird and Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson. “There’s something I want to talk to you about. Try to get Alana with you,” Anna told Pumpkin after she called her sister and told her that June was also on the group phone call with them.
— Mama June (@MamaJune_WEtv) July 14, 2023
“What is it?” Pumpkin asked, and Anna replied, “It’s something important I have to talk to you all about.”
Pumpkin started to get nervous and rightfully so. Once she got inside Alana’s room, Anna told them, “Well, you all know that for a while, I’ve been having health issues, right? Well, I got an update on my stuff. Your lovely oldest sister has Stage 4 cancer — adrenal carcinoma. And there’s nothing else that they can do except for right now is chemo for probably the next four months.”
Pumpkin didn’t know what to say — her jaw was on the floor. “It’s too aggressive,” June added before Anna further explained, “It’s too aggressive right now to even try a surgery or do radiation.”
“Well, f***. I don’t know what to say,” Pumpkin told Anna, and Anna said she felt the same way upon learning the news.
“What happens if the chemo doesn’t work?” Pumpkin asked, to which June replied, “Then, they go back to the drawing board and we don’t know what’s next.”
— Mama June (@MamaJune_WEtv) July 14, 2023
Then, in her private confessional, June teared up and said, “I mean, who wants to say, ‘I might bury my daughter’? I don’t know where to scream. I don’t know where to yell. I don’t know where to be mad. There’s some days I don’t… I just… some days you just have to get through the day, [because] I can’t imagine what she’s going through. Because if I’m [getting upset], she’s the one dealing with it.”
Back on the phone call, Anna told her sisters she’d find out more as time went on and they’ll just have to “figure it out” together.
After the call ended, Pumpkin told Alana that she couldn’t believe what they were hearing. Everyone had just gotten “together” and made amends, and now, this news is going to “affect everybody.” In her private confessional, Pumpkin cried and said her sister is “only 28” and has “two kids” — she doesn’t know “how to go on” knowing everyone is facing such a “sad” future.
“Our family has been through some messed up stuff, but nothing like this,” Pumpkin told Alana, who was contemplating going to Denver for college. Earlier in the episode she got accepted into a really good nursing school in Colorado, but now that Anna has cancer, she’s not sure what to do. “This is literally going to change everything,” Pumpkin said.
TMZ first reported on Anna’s cancer diagnosis in January 2023. And since then, June’s eldest daughter has been undergoing treatment for the disease and sharing moments from her health journey on Instagram. But even though she’s since gone through treatment, including multiple rounds of chemotherapy, the family recently announced her cancer is terminal.
In July 2023, June told Entertainment Tonight, “For me, it’s an emotional rollercoaster sometimes. Mentally it’s always on my mind. We know it’s terminal. She’s stage 4. She’s not gonna go into remission. We’ve all accepted that, so I just tell people one day at a time ’cause you never know. She just wants to see how it’s gonna go”. The next step would be immune therapy in clinical trials, but at this stage, Anna may choose an end-of-life option and live out her days as best as she can. “We don’t know what to expect because the cancer is very aggressive and it grew from nothing to something huge on the left side of her body really fast,” June said at the time.