Stories of Hope »

2000 Calendar

2000 Calendar

Survivor Stories

Adeline Grant, January View My Story »

Adeline Grant

There was one year when I just did not go for a mammogram. At this point, I don’t really even know why but next year, when I did go, something showed up. It was funny when the hospital called me to come in again.
We actually thought the machine was broken. But, they did find something.

I am really fortunate. My daughters were there through it all. And, in addition, I have a cousin who is very close and a friend who remains a strong supporter.

The doctor told me that I would not have ever found this on my own. It was not a tumor, just a calcification. I could not even feel it. I had a mastectomy and eight months of chemotherapy.

“I would do it all again if I had to”

Neomi Echols, February View My Story »

Neomi Echols

I am a missionary, a member of Mount Hebron Baptist Church in Meriden. I also participate in the nurse’s aide unit there. I am married. I had four sisters, but I lost one, so there are only three left. I cannot recall anyone in my family having breast cancer. My mother did not have it and none of my sisters have had it.
I was called in to see my doctor. He wanted me to go for another mammogram because they had seen a ½ inch lump on my left breast. I was upset, but I went to see my surgeon. He explained the procedure to me, and I had my surgery done. I was really very upset to find out that I had breast cancer. I never thought that it would happen to me because no one in my family was ever diagnosed with breast cancer.
I prayed and prayed that I would be able to handle this. I asked myself- “Why Me? What have I done? What is so wrong for me to get this cancer?” I have been very upset with myself. I was very upset with my doctor because I should have been told more about this. I did not want to talk to anyone. I did not want anyone to feel sorry for me. I did not give up. I talked to my husband about it. He gave me some good support. He went to the doctor and when I went for treatment he was right there with me. He told me “Keep smiling.” He was with me all the way.
I had 26 weeks of radiation. After my treatment, I felt better about myself. I could talk about this thing. Prayer changes things. When there is no way out, no way to turn, you can always call God. Later on in the month, I myself found a lump on my right breast. I got that taken care of. The doctor has checked me and there is no sign of cancer, now.
It has been two and ½ years of surviving for me. I feel good. I can tell the world about this. I pray and pray that I am able to continue to survive this cancer. I have faith in God and I take one day at a time. I walk by faith. So do not give up the fight. God is with you all the way. Keep the faith and trust God. He will take care of you.

” Keep the Faith and trust in God. He will take care of you”

Cynthia Swift, March View My Story »

Cynthia Swift

I am a resident of Hartford. At home, I am the mother of two children, Brian and Kasey and at work, I am an Assistant Compliance Officer for Aetna Financial Services.
Cancer runs in my father’s side of the family. My father currently has prostate cancer. I have had two uncles die of cancer and both of my aunts have had breast cancer.
I have been fighting cancer for the last six years. I was initially diagnosed with uterine cancer in 1993 at which time I had a partial hysterectomy. During the next two years I was told that I was cancer free. However, in September of 1996 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was given the option of having a lumpectomy, in conjunction with eight weeks of radiation therapy. My 1997 mammogram was negative, but the September of 1998 I experienced a recurrence and had to have a modified radical mastectomy with immediate tram flap reconstruction. Through it all, God has been faithful!!!
I worry about my daughter, whether or not she will be stricken with cancer at some point in her life. She is only 17, but I have already begun to educate her about monthly breast self-exams and yearly mammograms. We have discussed the fact that she will probably need to have her first base line mammogram at age 30

“Through it all, God has been faithful!!!”

Jacqui McGraw, April View My Story »

Jacqui McGraw

As I was preparing to enter the hospital for a hysterectomy, one of the routine pre-operative tests was routine mammogram. After the mammogram came back showing calcifications in my left breast, I was sent for a biopsy, which showed cancer cells in my milk ducks.
In May 1999, I had the hysterectomy and lumpectomy. My surgeon stated that, although a large portion of tissue was removed from my breast both during the biopsy and lumpectomy, there were still numerous cancerous cells remaining. His suggestion was mastectomy, which was performed in June 1999.
My Lymph nodes were not involved and neither radiation nor chemo-therapy was necessary, due to early detection and the location of the cells.
Upon my next visit to my surgeon, I was given the wonderful news that he had removed all of the cancerous cells.
I was mystified by my diagnosis of cancer, because heart problems, certainly not cancer, run in my family.
My family and friends were very supportive and caring during my convalescence. This July, although I was not fully recovered, I quietly celebrated my 60th birthday with about 20 friends and family.
I give thanks every day to God who brought me through and guided my recovery. Having experienced a major illness certainly has changed my life, and look forward to each day.
Currently, I am getting involved with the Witness Program.

“I look forward to each day.”

Eileen Williams-Esdaile, May View My Story »

Eileen Williams-Esdaile

I am a New Haven native currently residing in Hamden with my Husband, Myron Esdaile, Jr., and my two children, Aaron Christopher, age 7 1/2 and Morgan, age 5 1/2.
I discovered a lump in my left breast, Thanksgiving night 1998. I made an appointment with my Ob-Gyn doctor the following Monday, and was then referred to Temple Radiology for an ultrasound and mammogram. I had a baseline mammogram in July 1997. The doctor at Temple advised me after examination, that I, in all probability, had nothing more than a benign cyst, and not to worry. Luckily, my Ob-Gyn doctor disagreed with the diagnosis I was given and referred me to a breast surgeon for a biopsy. The biopsy was done on January 11, 1999, and on January 14, 1999, I was diagnosed with intraductal carcinoma. The tumor was two centimeters wide. On February 1, 1999 I had surgery at Yale New Haven Hospital – a Lumpectomy and Axillary Disection. The surgeon removed 16 lymph nodes, and all of them proved to be clean!! PRAISE GOD!
On February 19, 1999, I began my first chemotherapy treatment. On August 6, 1999 I ended these treatments. September 3, 1999 was the beginning of my six weeks of daily radiation treatments, ending on October 156, and 1999. Again, PRAISE GOD!!
This whole experience has really tested my faith, and I have been supported by my husband, my mother, my brother, my mother in-law, my church family at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, my co-workers at Southern New England Telephone Company, other extended family, and many, many devoted friends.
I believe in the power of prayer, and from the very beginning of this challenge, I opted to let everyone I knew, Know what I facing and asked them to pray with and for me as well.
I know

“God didn’t bring me this far, to leave me.”

Linda White-Epps, June View My Story »

Linda White-Epps

It was really hard to hear the words-you have cancer. I had already lost a very dear friend to the disease, and then I was being told I had breast cancer. Of course, my entire family pulled in even closer. My Dad was right there. All four brothers and my sister joined my mom in the circle of support that continues to surround me.

Special thanks to my children Dawn and George for their love and support.
Back then, I just told the doctor-do everything you need to do while I am under. The surgery took 14 hours. I was sick when my first grandson, Dominique, was born seven years ago. My body may not be the most beautiful. But I am alive and well and enjoying life to the fullest. I am celebrating all the events, including the birth of my second grandson Donovan.

Every week, I fine other women who have experienced the same ordeal as I have. We are survivors! The Witness Project helps me share my success with other women like the ones you see on these calendar pages.
We are women who can and wil testify to the glory of early detection and treatment. Check your breats every Month.
Get an annual mammogram.

“We are women who can and will testify to the glory of early detection and treatment”

Yvonne Cooper-Watson, July View My Story »

Yvonne Cooper-Watson

I am 51 years old and have been married to Leroy for 31 year. We have two children, Lavone and Jayme. I am a physical education teacher in Meriden.
I am proud to be a breast cancer survivor, three and ½ years now. I underwent a lumpectomy and they removed seven of 23 positive lymph nodes. I have had both radiation and chemo-therapy. I discovered a lump while doing my monthly self-exam. I was not really concerned about the discovery because I had had three previous breast biopsies and was diagnosed with fibro cystic disease. When I went to see the surgeon, he did not seem too concerned, but suggested a biopsy. This time the lump was diagnosed as an estrogen positive cancerous lump. My treatment lasted for ten months. With the love and support of my husband, children, family, and friends, I continued to work throughout the treatment.

I was not concerned about the diagnosis or my treatment because I knew God had other plans for me. I became involved with a program called the “Witness Project is a health program for African American women in churches and community centers. It features a group of African American women who each
“witness” about their triumph over breast or cervical cancer.

Together, they preach the good news that cancer does not have to be an automatic death sentence. The key is to catch it early and get treated. The motto of the Witness Project is “In Church People Witness to save Souls. At the Witness Project, They Witness to Save Lives.”

My friends constantly ask me if I am cured. I respond by saying “I have put this disease in God’s hands. I will do my part by continuing to check myself and visit my doctors, and I have faith in the Lord, my God, and trust in Jesus Christ, my Savior. I am going to be okay because Jesus loves me!”

“I have put this disease in God’s hands.”

Delilah Crooms, August View My Story »

Delilah Crooms

I live in Meriden, CT with my three children. I am 53 years old. I work at CUNO. I am an active member of Mount Hebron Baptist Church in Meriden.
I performed breast self-examination in December 1997. I found out that I had breast cancer in January 1998. After talking to two doctors at the hospital, I agreed that I needed to have radiation, so I went every day after work for six weeks.
After treatment, I went to “I Can Cope” sessions. These are for six weeks and especially for survivors. I am in a study on cancer at Yale University School of Medicine. During my treatment, my granddaughter was born. She came early, at seven months. She was born at UCONN Hospital in Farmington and only weighed two and ½ pounds. She gave me the strength to go on with my life as she fought to survive.
I have three children, two daughters and one son. I keep myself busy at all times, trying not to think about my cancer. But, I thank God every day for being alive. I go to church as much as I can. The songs that have kept me going are “God Can” and “Yes God is Real” I know that being alive, in the eyes of Jesus, is a blessing.
I encourage my sisters and friends to go get a mammogram. I have been a breast cancer survivor for two years. I get to meet other cancer survivors. Every year in May, I walk in the “Relay for Life”. That activity raises money for cancer research. I devote time as a member of the Witness Project in Meriden. Being a part of the Witness program has helped me out a lot. Early detection is the key to survival. All women are at risk. I am a survivor because I found out early. I go through each day with the support of friends and family members and with God’s Love.

“Early detection is the key to survival”

Edna V Williams, September View My Story »

Edna V Williams

I am a resident of Meriden, CT and a RN with the State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction.
I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer during my yearly routine mammogram and at that time finding abnormality, I was then given an ultrasound and was advised to see a surgeon. My surgeon recommended a biopsy that showed that the tumor was cancerous. I then underwent a lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy for 26 weeks.
Finding that you have breast cancer can be very frightening. However, being diagnosed with breast cancer does not mean a death sentence. Many women, through early detection and proper medical care, can be cured and go on to live very long and productive lives. The main component for my confidence was my faith in God, my supportive family, my church family, and my work family. I am presently a member of the Witness Program, a group of African American women, comprised of breast cancer survivors and helpers who visit churches and encourage other women to perform monthly breast exams and to have yearly mammograms. In addition to providing information on breast cancer, the Witness Program also encourages women to have yearly Pap Smears as well as other tests, and to see their doctors yearly.
I am the wife of Luke Williams and the mother of Evelyn Williams, an attorney in Harford, and Luke Williams, a freshman at Clark Atlanta University, who incidentally did his first speech at school on Breast Cancer Awareness.
Statistics have proven that African American women get cancer less, but die of it the most. Our goal is to decrease the numbers of African American women who die from cancer. God has truly blessed me and I hope that the message will get out to all women that it is extremely important to take care of their bodies

“I have hope that the message will get out to all women that it is extremely important to take care of their bodies”

Pearl Epps, October View My Story »

Pearl Epps

I always went to the doctor before going on vacation. This time I felt a lump in the nipple of my left breast. I just knew it would go away. But, my gynecologist said that I had to go for further tests. It was cancer.
I was not afraid. As a volunteer hostess in the cancer unit of the hospital in Champaign, Illinois, my job was to meet everyone at admissions.

All the staff knew me by first name. So I had V.I.P. status. The hospital staff explained everything and I was not afraid. My minister prayed to direct the hands of the surgeon. When it was over, there was no cancer in the lymph nodes and I did not need “chemo”. And I have never had a problem with that breast-period.

I was 70 then and now I have celebrated my 84 birthday. I know that being able to use the word “cancer” helps. I have had two bouts with the disease-the breast cancer and I had to have Hysterectomy also. But, I keep good insurance and see my doctors regularly.

“I know that being able to use the word “cancer” helps.”

Beverly Hilton Kimbro, November View My Story »

Beverly Hilton Kimbro

I was born October 27, 1946 in New Haven, CT to O’Donnell and Isabel Brockington Hilton, originally of South Carolina. I am the youngest of their ten children (six girls and four boys). I am married to Warren Kimbro, also of New Haven, and from previous marriage I had a son named Arthur Eugene Moore III who is deceased. I am a graduate of New Hampshire College and presently Assistant Director of finance and Administration for Yale University’s Center for International and Area Studies. I am an avid tennis player and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter of New Haven)

In December as to normal routine, I went to Yale New Haven Hospital for my yearly mammogram. Approximately one week later, I received a call from my physician to tell me that a second mammogram had been requested. This second test was followed by a stereotactic biopsy. After finding out the results. Which was a malignancy in the left breast, I was referred to a surgeon who gave me the news that I had Ductal Carcinoma in Situ in the left breast. (The right breast showed no signs of DCIS.) At the consultation with the surgeon and another with a reconstructive surgeon, I shoes to have a bilateral mastectomy. (Family history of cancer is why I chose bilateral.) My surgery was then schedule for February 9, 1999 at Yale New Haven Hospital, which took approximately five hours. (The follow up pathology report showed that there was DCIS in the right breast as well.)
Recovery took some eight weeks. I have returned to work and seem to be doing fine. I continue to have support from family, friends and coworkers.
I send out a special love to Warren for his continuous love and support throughout.

“It’s important to get a yearly mammogram.”

Arabella (Dee Dee) Pina, December View My Story »

Arabella (Dee Dee) Pina

In the year of 1987, I was stricken with breast cancer. I had many corrective surgeries and received chemotherapy for six months and did not lose my hair. Thank God.
In the year of 1991, the cancer had spread to my lungs and I had to have radiation for six months. This time, I lost my hair.
In the year of 1993, cancer was in my brain. The surgeon said I should have an operation, but, I through prayer, I had hands laid on me while visiting California. When I returned to Connecticut, I went to see the surgeon and he said that the tumor was gone. There was no trace of the cancer.
Through these three cancers, I continued sending prayers by way of the saints and I believed that the Lord would heal me, as he had done so many time before. These cancers were metastasized.
In the year of 1997, I had check up to find I had Colon Cancer, which was a whole new cancer. I had radiation for six months. My hair came out and, now I have to wear a wig. That is what God made them for!
This year in February I had a seizure. The doctors say, without God and good care, I might not be here. Now I am having mini strokes. The Lord has healed me all through these illnesses and I thank him each and every day.
Praise the Lord.

“Early detection is the key to saving lives.”

Sylvia Ward Hodge, December View My Story »

Sylvia Ward Hodge

Twenty five years ago, on March 27, 1974, at 7a.m., I was on a stretcher being taken to an operating room in the Hospital of St. Raphael. My beloved cousin, the late Dr. Wilbur W. Esdaile, had made all the reservations for my entry, plus, and I quote him saying, “the best surgeon this side of Heaven will be operating- Dr. Pellecia.”
I had entered the Hospital on March 25th. My students at Ridgefield High School made a special Novena for me on that day. I was in the operating room for seven hours and then in the recovery room for two hours. My cousin, Doris Esdaile Carre, R.N. came to the hospital at 8 a.m. and stayed all day with me. I am made to understand that when they brought me back to my room, she “jumped for joy” when the doctor told her I was “clean as a whistle.” I never had to take chemotherapy or radiation, not even an aspirin.
I was in the hospital for 12 days, by Wilbur’s orders. I finally left the hospital and by the end of April, I was back teaching in Ridgefield. I finally retired in June 1988. I am now teaching private lessons in the music studios at the Whitneyville United Church of Christ. My courses are piano and both beginners and advanced music theory.

“All things are truly possible- only believe”

« Back to Stories of Hope