Express Joy

(Leesha Runnels Resource Center)

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Items are available in a variety of styles, colors, and sizes.  Quantities and support  may be limited.  Download the application for assistance.  Email or mail it us.

Complimentary Health Awareness Literature, Wigs, Post Surgical  Products, Pillows, Caps, Scarves, etc. for cancer recovery.

Individual consultation available.

Leesha Tamara Runnels

Leesha-Latin, American, & French for "happy" - deep inner desire for love, companionship, and to work with others to achieve peace and harmony

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"My Story"

How volunteering at a breast cancer survivors’ luncheon saved my life!

 

I was turning 30 years old and jazzed about it. Everyone was saying 30 was the new 20, and I couldn't wait. I was going to be "Thirty, flirty and thriving." This was it.  My career was taking off; I was consulting around the US; my son was starting school; and I was volunteering for Revivals Health & Wellness Council making inspirational videos, advertising and selling tickets to the luncheon.  I'd never felt so alive.

 

Then I got sick with a cold and the flu at the same time, doctors said, "This is strange to get both at the same time".  Oh well, I thought, I had never taken a vacation maybe my body wanted me to slow down. Through Revivals, I learned the importance of doing self-breast exams so I did one.  I found a lump the size of a lima bean under my arm, right on the edge of my breast.  I assumed it was nothing, but watched it for a week, then went and had it checked out.  Invasive ductal carcinoma, three more lumps found, and some calcium deposits cancerous as well.  They were grade three, human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) 2+, and estrogen driven.

 

Treatment began.  I got a port and did soft mild and hard chemotherapy.  After that, I underwent a radical left mastectomy and a full right mastectomy.  I had expanders put in and had them filled slowly over a few months.  This was a painful process, but worth it to get reconstruction.   After all was said and done I crashed and PTSD hit me like a truck.   “Chemo” brain and the fatigue really got to me.  But I still had to take Tamoxifen.

 

Then I found another lump, scar tissue every one said.  I had surgery and no “it” was back.  I had failed Tamoxifen.  My margins were not clear so I had another surgery and the treatment team was not going easy.  More surgery, chemotherapy and radiation followed.

 

But I'm the world’s most positive girl. I found that I was less scared then most people in my situation. Why because of my years of volunteering for Revivals. I knew to do my breast checks from listening to breast cancer survivor’s stories!  I learned that cancer was not a death sentence. I learned that what makes a woman beautiful comes from her heart. I learned all this from attending the Keeping the Faith Breast Cancer Survivors’ Luncheon Celebration every year! I owe these women my life, they saved me. Their bravery to share, their stories gave me strength not only to do my monthly checks, but they also gave me faith that I could do this.

 

I thank God every day for this organization and Elaine! She is more than a president she is an advocate, chemo buddy, shoulder to cry on, and a real life angel! This year I am honored to be sharing my story at the luncheon and look forward to meeting more survivors. I will continue to speak out about women's breast health awareness and I'm honored to be a part of this organization! Thank you for letting me share my story and thank you for saving my life!

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Eileen McNeall
Cindy Smith

Inspiration Station

(The Mary A. Stallworth Collection)

We have learned from The Pink Fund that in 2017, an estimated 255,180 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,410 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.  Download the Breast Cancer Facts and Figures Sheet (PDF format) as reported by the The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC).   In 2016, Financial Toxicity was designated as a side effect of cancer treatment by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Our mission is to support breast cancer survivors now by celebrating wellness while other great organizations advocate and  search for a cure.  a 501 (c) (3) Charity