Families continue to support loved ones at cancer walk
By James Foster
Death. This is often the first thing that comes to mind for those who are diagnosed with breast cancer. About 40,450 women are expected to die in 2016. While breast cancer takes the lives of many, there are stories of the ones who fight through this disease that give hope to us all. Stories that include the support of family and friends without whose help most could not have made it.
Stories like that of Debbie Robinson, who lost her sister-in-law Latonya Robinson-Williams at the age of 38; and who is now witnessing her mother fight through her third battle with breast cancer. Robinson spoke about the effects it’s had on her as a family member.
“When she (mother) went in for surgery she lost all of her hair, and my son began to ball and cry because when you hear the word breast cancer you think of the word death,” said Robinson. “I’ve been an anchor for my mom,” she added.
Robinson has dealt with the hardships of breast cancer first-hand, but realized she wanted to participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk as an extension of her mother and sister-in-law.
“I had to take off of my job four times a week to take her (mother) back and forth to radiation and chemo and it was a task,” said Robinson. “I’m here to walk for my mother and my sister-in-law, and I’m emotional but I’m happy that I’m here,” she stated.
Florence Harrell, who doesn’t have breast cancer and is not diagnosed with the disease, has a similar story. She participated in the walk in support of her two nieces who both survived kidney cancer.
“It’s important for me to get out and be a part of such a worthy cause, because I never know what may happen to me or another member of my family in the future,” said Harrell.
Harrell also addressed the effect the cancer had on her and her family and what they had to do together to get through the disease.
“It cut a lot of things short with the family, because we had to spend a lot of time with her (one of her nieces) knowing that any day could’ve been her last day,” said Harrell.
Harrell mentioned a big part of the fight against cancer that may not get as much focus as it should: the family. The survivors of breast cancer are often the main focus when it comes to breast cancer, as they should be, but what about the family? How do they cope with such a hard reality understanding that it could be their loved one’s last day?
“My motto is to always tell them to be a faith, fearful fighter,” said Shanda Wright, a seven-year survivor of breast cancer. “It was very devastating when I first found out, but the fact that I’m a faith believer in Christ, that’s what managed me to get through it.”
Wright and hundreds of others joined together in unity at Cascades Park to participate in the walk this past Sunday hosted by the American Cancer Society.
“The goal of the walk is to raise both awareness and funds for breast cancer programs, research and support for people facing it,” said Kristie Teal, community manager for the American Cancer Society. “The biggest and best part of the event is to celebrate the survivors that will be out their joining us, and just celebrate their successes and their lives,” she added.
Breast cancer can be sad and heartbreaking to all the people it affects, but the event was filled with joy and fun from start to finish. Registration began at 1 p.m. and up until the walk started at 3 p.m., there were talent shows, booths that provided such things as free T-shirts, lunch for cancer survivors, and plenty of support from everyone. This made it a great atmosphere for survivors, family and friends who attended.