Join EBONY.com in saluting these brave, inspiring and strong women! Read on for their personal words of wisdom:
Maimah Karmo, 41, Aldie, VA. Diagnosed at 36
“Breast cancer was a catalyst that nudged me to live the life that I had only before dreamed of. Life will have peaks and valleys – going through this experience showed me to embrace and walk into the valleys with the same perseverance, fearlessness, faith and peace that I feel when I enjoy the peaks.”
Shirell Green-Lenoir, 43, Magnolia, MS. Diagnosed at 36
"It’s not the survival that makes us strong it’s the will to move on, accept the challenges, keep the faith and to not be embarrassed to tell your story. It’s not over till it’s over.”
Tracy Easton, 50, Brooklyn, NY. Diagnosed at 48
“Surviving breast cancer for me was to embrace the spirituality of living through prayer, laughter, loving, eating healthier and learning to love me more than anyone else."
Kellee Southern, 46, Silver Spring, MD. Age diagnosed: 45
“I have associated my journey with a transformation of a butterfly and I love this quote from Maya Angelou, "We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.'"
Maggy François, 45, Brooklyn, NY. Age diagnosed: 45
“I choose to be strong because I know no other way. I want to be an example to others; so, no matter what, I put on my best – my fashion, my smile, and walk in faith and with strength. I'm a firm believer that if you look and feel good, it will help you recover gracefully and positive energy can benefit tremendously.”
Dr. Sheri Y. Prentiss, 46, Chicago, IL. Diagnosed at: 40
"There is life, health and happiness after breast cancer. I admonish survivors and co-survivors alike to L.I.V.E everyday!
- Love yourself and others;
- Inspire those around you;
- Voice your dreams and ambitions
- Enjoy Life.
Nikia Hammonds-Blakely, 36, Frisco, TX. Diagnosed at 16
"Having been diagnosed at the young age of 16, I quickly learned that life was to not only be lived, but it needed to be maximized. I vowed to live each moment to it's fullest potential, as my Thank You to God for his sparing my life!”
Shelly M. Ruffin, 43, Destrahan, LA. Diagnosed at 36
"Giving up on the life that God has blessed you with is never an option. Survival is a state of mind, having strong faith in a higher power, keeping a positive perspective on life and s
Tomika Bryant, 42, King of Prussia, PA. Diagnosed at 41
“Use Breast cancer as a reminder that life is not a race but a journey and you must remember to seize every moment and make it count. #CountItAllJoy”
Kijana Inari, 39, Ft Lauderdale, FL. Diagnosed at 36
“Who we really are is determined when we are most fearful, facing the unknown. Cancer forces you into being 100% you to God and yourself— it brings out the survivor in you.
Tamara Wallace Norman, 43, Charlotte, NC. Diagnosed at: 40
"I am not a cancer victim. I don't look like a cancer victim. I don't act like a cancer victim. I don't feel like a cancer victim. I am a breast cancer SURVIVOR!"
Leslie Williams, 46, Arlington, TX. Diagnosed at 41
“To whom much is given, much is required." The idea is that we are held responsible for what we have. If we are blessed with talents, wealth, knowledge, time, and the like, it is expected th
TeMaya Thompkins, 38, Atlanta, GA. Diagnosed at 36
The quote I have been living by since my diagnosis is one by Oprah Winfrey: "If you allow yourself to breathe into the depth, wonder, beauty, craziness, and strife, everything that represents the fullness of your life; you can live fearlessly, you CANNOT be conquered."
LaToya Parker, 39, Willingboro, NJ. Diagnosed at: 28
"You are your best advocate, early detection saves lives, proactive treatment sustains lives. I didn't want to just beat cancer, I wanted to survive it."
Victoria St. Martin, 34, Washington, D.C. Diagnosed at 30
"Living with cancer is about loving and laughing even harder, and turning silly old sweaters into treasures. My Mom-Mom, who also had cancer, used to say, 'There's always a rainbow after a storm,' and she's right. You just put one foot in front of the other, smile and look for your rainbows."
Vielka Montout, 43, Vacaville, CA. Diagnosed at 37
“When I first heard the word "Cancer" come out of my doctor's mouth, my only thought was… Is this The End? Like the end of a movie when the credits roll and the music starts. Wow, Is this the end of my movie? No Sisters!!! Today starts The Sequel.
Felicia Mahone, 34, Fairburn, GA. Diagnosed at 27
"Despite the death of my mother from breast cancer, two rapes, a home invasion, and breast cancer, never did I say why me, but instead why not me?"
Sonja Rodgers, 47, College Park, GA. Diagnosed at 43
“Nothing can stop you if you have a positive mind and willing to do the necessary to finish strong! I am a second generation breast cancer survivor and I am proud to be a survivor.”
Rhonda Savain, 44, Peachtree City, GA. Diagnosed at 43
“The journey is very tough. When it is over you will be a better person than when you started. Don't look back!”
LaMonica Street, 39, Akron, OH. Diagnosed at 37
"What God has for Me is for Me! Have joy in wherever you go through."
Melanie Lee, 35, Nashville, TN. Diagnosed at: 30
“In my eyes Breast Cancer was a gift from God and has made me see things in a different type of light.”
Shaton Freeman, 40, Kansas City, MO. Diagnosed at: 37
“The art and act of surviving for me was trusting in the Lord and having the faith to believe that He would allow my body to receive His healing power. Thank you Jesus!”
Khadijah Carter is a multimedia journalist in New York City and a graduate of Columbia University Journalism School. She specializes in reporting on health & wellness topics, profiles and inspirational human-interest stories. @KCReports