Lexington breast cancer survivor finds strength in group, Colors of Promise

Lexington breast cancer survivor finds strength in group, Colors of Promise
Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 7:12 PM EDT
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Breast cancer knows no skin color; it affects women from all different races, backgrounds, and ethnicities.

Many times when it comes to screening and care, there is often a huge disparity among women of color.

One Lexington group is using their sisterhood to be a link to hope in opening up a conversation that many times goes unspoken.

Inside the walls of the First African Baptist Church is a place not just for worshipping.

It is also a place to feel safe, a place for learning and healing, and for Nancy Garth to share her story.

“The thing that keeps me going is just knowing that there is a purpose, and sometimes just your presence is all that it needs,” said Nancy Garth.

In the last year, the 65-year-old has leaned on her faith more than ever after a breast cancer diagnosis, but her story starts much earlier.

Near the age of 50, doctors found some atypical cells after a routine breast screening.

When asked about family history, Garth didn’t have an answer.

“Being a typical African American female in the families, you do not really go into a lot of detail about your parent’s history or health history,” said Garth.

She took her mom to the doctor and found that at the age of 80, she had stage 4 breast cancer.

Doctors told Nancy she would need to be vigilant about her own screenings; she was until March of this year when her doctor called saying they found a mass in her breast.

“I was told on Tuesday that I had cancer of the left breast. On that Wednesday, I was able to get in to see the surgeon and met with a patient navigator, said Garth.

Garth turned to her faith to guide her.

“You know my God has a way and a plan,” said Garth.

With the support of her husband, Garth chose a lumpectomy, had radiation, and is now on medication.

She found support through Colors of Promise, a sisterhood of women to lean on.

“They are your cheerleaders. You are their pep rally. They are your aunt that you can tell everything to because you can’t say it to your mom or your dad,” said Garth.

Colors of Promise aims to educate and empower women of color to take ownership of their own health.

This month Pink the Pews events, which started through Colors of Promise, not only celebrate survivors but serve to continue the conversation about health in the black community.

“Colors of Promise was the purpose, and the function behind it is to get women and men of color to be aware that your health matters,” said Garth.

Vivian Lasley-Bibbs is a founding member of Colors of Promise.

She has watched the sisterhood grow and its connection to people.

“I’d like for people to see that you look like me. I can talk to you. We try to build that trust and relationships, and it’s all about relationships, really,” said Vivian Lasley-Bibbs.

Colors of Promise was there for Nancy Garth, and now during this new season of her life as a survivor, it’s time to pass that love on to someone else.

“People need to see women who look like them. They need to see women who can still persevere,” said Garth.

Color of Promise will be participating with Consolidated Baptist Church in their Breast Cancer Awareness events on October 22nd and 23rd.

Two members of Colors of Promise will be speaking at their luncheon on Oct 22.

They will also be celebrating survivors on the 23 at the Sunday service. For more information, click here.