Thirty-seven-year-old breast cancer survivor Seeka Woodson embraced the chilly weather in Prospect Park on Sunday, Oct. 18, to walk with the New York-based, Guyana Health & Education Relief Organization For Cancer (HEROC), as she continues her fight for a cure for cancer that the American Cancer Society noted would affect millions of women yearly.
As she stood behind a banner that read: “Give Cancer The Boot” this brave young woman who fought for her life with her loving siblings and father beside her after loosing her mother to the disease, implore her peers to practice self examination.
“It has been a hard journey for me as a cancer survivor and loosing my mother to breast cancer. But thankfully, my father and brothers helped me as I went through this ordeal,” said the young woman, wearing a pink tee shirt, and a determined smile that resonated strongly among supporters.
“I am doing well, but I tell my friends to check themselves to ensure sure everything is okay, and if you find anything abnormal, go to your doctor and follow their guidelines and rules,” said Woodson, whose mother would have celebrated another birthday on Oct. 18.
President of the Guyana Tri-State Alliance Patricia Jordon-Langford who was diagnosed with the disease two years ago, is living proof that positivity conquers all. After three surgeries, radiation treatment and a change in diet, this go-getter was out striding for a cure.
“Early detection through screening is key,” said Jordon-Langford, adding, “if something don’t feel right, get a second opinion. A second opinion saved my life. Pass the message along.”
“Many of my friends were diagnosed with the disease after I was. Hearing the word ‘cancer’ is earth shattering. Surviving should be the ultimate goal.”
“I am here to support team HEROC, and the American Cancer Society that has been very helpful to me. The organization offered support, and shared information to help me deal with the disease. I am a survive and I stay positive. You have to fight the battle after hearing you have cancer even though it is scary,” said the community activist.
Jordan-Langford who was recently named Ambassador of Brooklyn by Borough President Eric Adams, called on women to be vigilant, by seeking information, said the Guyanese-American who is staying healthy by juicing, and eating the right foods.
Audrey Smith-Hogan, who lost an aunt to the disease, started walking 10 years ago with various organizations, and joined HEROC’s walk after the May strides for cancer was cancelled.
“I am here to support anyone who has been touched directly, or indirectly by this disease,” said Smith-Hogan, treasurer of the Bishop’s High School Alumni Association.
HEROC, a two-year-old organization led by Lorna Welshman-Neblett, has been working diligently to garner support for its outreach programs and to conduct its medical missions to Guyana.
Weslhman-Neblett said 50 percent of the proceeds raised from this year’s second walk would go toward education and the purchase of prosthesis brassieres and wigs to send to Guyana.
The other 50 percent will be donated to the American Cancer Society, said Welshman Neblett, who, with the help of the umbrella organization HEROC will solicit donations, or a reduction in price of medical supplies, and bras from manufacturers of the undergarment.
“We have been on a wig collection spree for women in Guyana who have lost their hair due to the disease, and so far our efforts have been successful,” she said.
“Most importantly, we will focus our attention on educating women about cancer,” added Welshman-Neblett who noted that the disease does not have an age limit.
Vice President, Harold Lutchman in turn, has been instrumental in galvanizing support from the community through word of month efforts, and praised HEROC for reaching its target.
Liaison Barbara Chase, will travel to Guyana to conduct “Project Dawn” — an initiative to outfit survivors with bras and wigs.
It is hoped that the bras could be made in Guyana, due to the high cost of $65.00 each in the U.S., an expense too great for the 5013c HEROC that relies on donations.
Chase is depending on the new coalition government to do its best to help survivors, and others suffering with cancer in a country where prices are inflated. She noted that a mother would prefer to feed her child than spend money on a mammogram, or critical care.
In the meantime, Chase calls for women to practice self-examination, a simple action that could save lives.
To make a donation or to reach HEROC, call 646-522-8005, or join the conversation on HEROC/facebook page.