Breast cancer is one of the most torturous causes of death in women, although some men are diagnosed with the disease as well. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Atlanta, Georgia hosted the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014. The event focused the spotlight on individuals who are fighting and have won the fight against this devastating disease. Thousands were in attendance and, as a result, millions of dollars were raised to further research to help fight and cure this disease.
At the culmination of the walk, I had the privilege of attending a private event called Always Have Hope held in honor of a very unique survivor named Idean Watkins of North Carolina. Watkins brought with her a 19-member support team that accompanied her during the walk.
Watkins spent a little time with me sharing her story, testimony and inspirational overview of beating one of the most silent killers known to women.
As I witnessed her radiant and grateful attitude, she personally shared with me a story of hope, prayer, and unlimited support from family and friends.
Watkins was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 at the age of 57. During diagnosis, the physician shared with her the targeted areas of the cancer and the fact that it was at Stage 1. However, the cancer soon progressed to Stage 2.
She elected to have a mastectomy, invariably losing all of her hair after going through chemotherapy and radiation.
Fortunately for Watkins, she is connected to a strong support group which spans from Atlanta, Georgia to North Carolina to Virginia. In addition, Watkins is connected to a support group consisting of existing breast cancer patients, survivors and supporters.
Since going into remission, her personal mission is to educate others by sharing her story. Her testimony includes discussing new ways she takes care of her health; her strong desire to empower other women with the knowledge to go forward with annual screenings; but more importantly, encouraging women to conduct regular self-examinations.
One never knows their fate, so take a moment to salute all those individuals and families who have persevered through such a devastating disease as breast cancer. Watkins embodies a spirit of hope, noted acknowledgement of the grace of God, having strong support and being blessed to still be here.
When you see her in person, you’d never think that this lady had been in a battle with cancer over the last 4 years. Her exemplary spirit and outlook on life has profoundly encouraged others to fight this disease. She is a survivor.
If you know of anyone fighting breast cancer, you to should empower them with hope, prayer and support as I am sure Watkins would personally do. For those who have connections or support in the form of relatives, friends or acquaintances, you are blessed. And, if you have a family history of breast cancer, please be sure to conduct self-examinations frequently and see your doctor on a regular basis for examination. Don’t play with Ms. or Mr. Genealogy.
Feel welcome to share your inspiration, thoughts and comments for Idean Watkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about Felicia Smith
Felicia Smith is an author and Empower Magazine columnist.