In April 2011 I went to primary care doctor with a server sinus infection. While there I made mention of a knot under my right arm. I told him I thought it came from changing deodorant. He took a look at it and told me to come back in six months he wanted to keep and eye on it to be sure it doesn’t increase in size; breast cancer sometime starts this way. Six months went and came and I didn’t go back. The sinus infection reoccurred and I was on my way back to the doctor’s office. His first comments to me were, ‘Byrd you didn’t come back in six months for me to examine the knot under your arm.’He examine me and noticed it had grown in size. He asked could I go that day to see a surgeon for a biopsy if he could get it scheduled. There was no sense in wasting time so when they went in to biopsy they took out the entire knot and it came back positive for breast cancer. From that point on it was on to a breast mastectomy, chemotherapy, and thyroid surgery to assure nogales wasn’t cancer. Pathology report came back but they were not cancerous. As my treatment concluded, I was determined to give back to the organization, my family and friends who’d helped me during such a difficult time.
I had a first year celebration with dinner,family and friends. It was open to the public. It was my version of a fundraiser for the cause. I raised nearly THREE THOUSAND dollars surpassing my original goal of $1,000. Next year will be my faith year in 2016. The response of me taking control and including my community in my struggle and now survival was beyond expectation. I’ve been receiving calls from people wanting me to facilitate another dinner for awareness. For my faith year I am setting out to raise $5,000.
The organization benefiting will be The James Graham Brown Cancer Center. People like myself have to partake in chemotherapy, your hygiene products change and you lose your hair. When Norton Audubon provided me with what was to come, I learned neither facility had wigs specifically for women of color and type.
My mission is to work toward providing women of color with suitable hair options and I hope my next goal of $5,000 will start the conversation that will offer diverse choices.