Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | September 28, 2009
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'I'm a survivor' - Breast-cancer victim shares her story, awareness month launched
Nadisha Hunter, Gleaner Writer

Clover Allen-Wilson (left), managing director of Unique Personnel Service Limited, pins a ribbon on the dress of Elitte Sellars-Wright, chairperson of the voluntary group the Jamaica Reach to Recovery, to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which will be celebrated in October. Allen-Wilson and Sellars-Wright were participating in the breast-cancer awareness church service held at Webster Memorial United Church in St Andrew yesterday. - norman grindley/chief photographer

Eight years ago when Inet Clarke was diagnosed with breast cancer it was the start of an ordeal, but today she is using her experience to help others overcome the life-threatening disease.

"I have been through a lot of struggles and pain, but now I am a source of help to many others, of which I am very proud," Clarke told The Gleaner after participating in the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month church service, held at the Webster Memorial United Church in St Andrew.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month will be celebrated in October.

"God allowed this to happen to me so that I can be a mentor and a help for others."

Clarke said she has never turned down the opportunity to assist a patient.

Just before her diagnosis, she felt a painful lump in her breast, but she didn't take it seriously at the time.

"When I did my own examination, I always belch, so I thought it was gas. But is only when it got worse that I took it up in hand," Clarke recounted.

Up for surprise

That was in the following year, and she was up for a surprise.

"I was devastated when I got the result, as I thought it was the end of me. But with the help of the persons at my church, along with friends and family, I easily got over the stress."

She encouraged breast-cancer victims that, if they remain strong, they will overcome.

"Keep your faith and your confidence in God because he is the one who brought me through and I know he will do it for others," Clarke noted.

She is one of the several survivors of the Jamaica Reach to Recovery voluntary group, which took part in yesterday's breast-cancer awareness service.

Elitte Sellars-Wright, chairperson of the outreach group, said the church service was held to invite God's presence on events to be held in the upcoming month.

Among the scheduled activities are World Mammogram Day, a breast-cancer forum, as well as Relay for Life.

Jamaica Reach to Recovery's aim is to render assistance to persons who are diagnosed with breast cancer.

Educate and inform

"We are here to educate and inform women with breast cancer and to be there for them by offering words of encouragement whenever we can," Sellars-Wright explained.

She said the illness was on the increase and, as a marker, pointed to the spike in the membership of the voluntary group, which has been in existence for more than 20 years.

"More people are being aware and are coming forward to join the group and, this year more than ever, we have had much more persons joining."

More than 200 people are currently part of Jamaica Reach to Recovery, but Sellars-Wright was unable to give the increased figures by the year.


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