“Breast cancer crystallized a divine purpose for my life”
Since I was three years old I wanted to be a star. My only desire was to entertain on a big stage and bring joy to people through singing dancing and acting. I was a little show-off with a big personality and I loved helping people!
As life would have it, my dreams would not begin to come to fruition until much later and to my surprise not quite like I had imagined. At age 40 I became an award winning gospel recording artist who toured the country ministering to souls for Christ. After one year of touring, the shock of my life threatened my promising future. In October of 2003 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. A wife and mother of two teenage daughters, I had absolutely no warning, no lump, no symptoms, no family history!
I was the first in my family to experience breast cancer. Devastated and shocked beyond disbelief I was further tormented by my doctor’s recommendation to treat the disease with a mastectomy! Because the cancer (ductal carcinoma in situ) was detected early, I felt a mastectomy was far too aggressive treatment for a Stage 0 pre-cancer diagnosis. However, I quickly understood that the cancer was disseminated throughout my breast and the mastectomy was the best form of treatment. This forced me into a world-wind of emotional distress, quick decisions, and unfamiliar doctors.
Fear and grief often consumed my thinking but being a woman of faith I knew somehow I would beat breast cancer and stand as astrong survivor! One compelling confirmation of this fact, unbeknown to me at the time, was God had already placed me with my survivor organization well over a year before my diagnosis. Through my musical associations I had become the honorary songstress for Sisters Network Atlanta Chapter (national African American breast cancer survivor organization) without any expectation that I would ever join them as a survivor member.
In December 2003 I had my mastectomy and immediate breast reconstructive surgery with my devoted husband and family at my side. Recovery was painful and long, yet I was back on my feet in about six months. Fortunately, I did not need chemotherapy or radiation and I was cancer-free! I did not then nor do I now consider myself in remission. I am healed!
Breast cancer crystallized a divine purpose for my life. Therefore, I didn’t hesitate returning to the frontlines using my experience to educate African American women and underserved communities about the impact of this dreadful disease. I work closely with the American Cancer Society (ACS) Speaker Bureau, serve as a national spokesperson for the Sister Study, and recently became a professional member of the National Speakers Association (NSA).
Today God has relocated me to Hollywood, California and blessed me with a successful speaking business, Lily International, Inc. (named after my mother) where I have the most awesome “living my dream” opportunities to speak and sing life and inspiration to audiences at women’s conferences, church services, corporate events, and community affairs. Known as the “Little Lady With The Big Voice,” I am doubly blessed with the versatility to reach people from the upper levels of corporate management to the homes of the underserved. I uniquely blend music and inspirational songs into every message, entertain with humor and dance, and involve my audiences as I passionately deliver the client’s message on key! My keynote topics are Breast Cancer, Health & Wellness, Women’s Motivation and Empowerment.