CHICAGO—Warriors Talk Inc. founder Reshelle Matheny, also known as Lady Reshelle, presented several women who are cancer survivors with awards and recognition during the 7th Annual Survivors Night of Reflection Gala: A Season to Emerge.
Ms. Matheny, a Chicago resident and mother of five, was diagnosed with Stage 2 triple-negative breast cancer in November 2013. Her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and, unfortunately, died of the disease. Ms. Matheny’s father has also died from cancer.
The death of her sister, along with her own diagnosis, inspired her to create a nonprofit dedicated to providing education and resources for women and men in 2014.
“The passing of my sister really put me on my journey to birth Warriors Talk, Inc. I just started sharing my journey. The mission of the organization is to empower individuals into action for a healthier lifestyle before, during, and after a cancer diagnosis,” Ms. Matheny said.
Every Monday from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. CDT, the Warriors Talk podcast can be accessed at intellectualradio.com. The podcast covers topics such as “How cancer and other diseases are running rampant throughout our country.”
An intimate gathering of survivors and their friends and family attended the event held at the Crystal Sky Banquets in McCook, Illinois, on October 21.
Guest speaker and survivor Dionne Davis traveled to the event from Atlanta.
“My dad died of prostate cancer and I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer after being told by two different doctors that I didn’t have anything to worry about,” Ms. Davis said. “The second doctor reluctantly gave me a referral for a mammogram. After being told that I had stage 4 cancer, I struggled with how to tell my young son.”
She continued, “I am a 13-year survivor and my mission in life right now is to help others the way nobody helped me. I wrote a children’s book, “Ebony’s Purple Scarf” under the name Dionne Monique, with the savings my dad left me. In his honor, I created this book to talk to children about cancer. My son was seven years old when I was diagnosed and I didn’t know how to communicate to him about what I was going through.”
The nonprofit organization, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s website states, “Data compiled by the American Cancer Society shows breast cancer incidence rates among Black and White women are close, mortality rates are markedly different, with Black women having a 40 percent higher death rate from breast cancer. Among women under 50, the mortality rate among young Black women, who have a higher incidence of aggressive cancers, is double that of young White women.”
Tracy Kincaide is a 13-year survivor of stage 2 breast cancer. She was the emcee and a community service award recipient at the gala. “My family and I started a nonprofit organization, Forever Hope Agency in 2015,” Ms. Kincaide said. “We support breast cancer organizations, we do community outreach, and we partner with other organizations. We’re getting ready to roll out our tent drive, which consists of providing tents to homeless individuals.”
Kacia Muhammad attended the gala to show her support. “Reshelle and I went to high school together; we’ve been friends for about 38 years. When she received her cancer diagnosis, it hit close to home, my best friend had cancer. I learned of her radio program. I was so proud of her, I just wanted to offer my support to her any way that I could,” said Ms. Muhammad.
“When I first started attending her events, which was her second gala, I was so touched, I was so moved by her desire to empower women with information. I love the support that she’s given people, I think it’s a great cause,” added Ms. Muhammad.
Eloise Orr battled cancer six times and is now a 15-year survivor. “I had breast cancer two times and the last four times, the cancer was in my brain,” she said. “I was in medical debt because my insurance dropped me in the middle of chemotherapy, which led to me filing bankruptcy. My doctors kept treating me even when I didn’t have insurance, and I prayed a lot.”
For more information about Warriors Talk, visit warriorstalk.org.
(Shawntell Muhammad can be contacted at [email protected].)