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H.O.P.E Founder: My Fight With Breast Cancer

February 8th, 2021

breast cancer

In October I was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.

Most of you were unaware, but not only was I striving to keep providing resources for our participants and to stay alive through a pandemic— but I was also fighting breast cancer.

If you know my story, you know that five years ago I lost my late husband to bladder cancer. It was the hardest time of my life fighting that battle with him. Many of you fought with me and my sons and helped us put the pieces back when he finally passed away.

With the grace of God, after a couple of years, it felt like we were being restored as a family. I’d remarried, had a beautiful baby boy, and H.O.P.E was growing more than ever. I had begun to gain excitement about the future, but that was all interrupted when I noticed some changes after I stopped breastfeeding my son.

I did my due diligence and went to a doctor to check it out (two to be exact), and was told each time that it was probably nothing serious— just me still producing milk. I felt I needed to schedule my annual mammogram to make sure. So, I did. Even the tech that day seemed unimpressed by what I showed her and my concerns. However, further testing and a biopsy would show that my concerns were valid.

 

kenita

 

On October 6, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Many of you participated in our virtual run around that time and watched me present an award video without any signs of struggle. But I was struggling. I’d come face-to-face with my most feared diagnosis. My grandmother died at 45 from this disease and my aunt passed in her early 50′s. All kinds of things went through my mind, as I kept wondering, how could I tell my boys that we were going through this again? I hurt for them, my husband, and my family. Yet, the show had to go on. We had families that needed us, and if you know me personally, you know that I didn’t waste time feeling sorry for myself.

After several consultations, I decided upon a double mastectomy. I had the surgery last month and just returned to work last week. I am proud to say that I am CANCER FREE and did not require any chemo or radiation. The prescription was a healthy lifestyle. So, some of you may be wondering why I would share something so personal with you?

Well, I often tell people that we are a team. You have been on team HOPE for quite some time, and if ever you proved it, you showed me, even more, a week ago. If you remember my last email, I wrote about some hate mail we received. I received news of those letters, while I was healing from surgery and your responses blessed me tremendously.

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Can you imagine going through what I was already enduring and reading something like that? It was hurtful and disgusting, but you turned something hateful into something positive. 
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You sent us positive cards to let us know that our work is making a difference, and you encouraged me to keep going. You even sent donations and some of you became monthly donors for the first-time. It was AMAZING! We call them letters of HOPE because that’s what you gave us. 
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I thank you from the bottom of my heart for every card and donation we received. I encourage those of you who want to do something but don’t know what to do, to take a few minutes to write a letter of encouragement to either me, our participants, or Board Members and send it to P.O. Box 3166, Duluth, GA 30096. You never know what people are going through and your note could make someone’s day brighter.

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Thank you for all you do!
Sincerely,
Kenita
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