October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and at the October 26 Homestead City Council meeting, Vice Mayor Patricia Fairclough opened Council presentations by recognizing 12 Homestead women “celebrating their victory over breast cancer.” To get into the spirit of celebration, six students from the Mayor’s Youth Council distributed pink ribbons to every person in the Council Chamber before the presentation began.
“Homestead is a community that cares, and we care about all causes in our community, but breast cancer is one that has really impacted a lot of us on Council directly or indirectly,” explained Vice Mayor Fairclough. “Today we have some survivors with us who bravely battled breast cancer and they survived.”
With help from the students, Vice Mayor Fairclough presented each woman with a pink sash printed with the words “I’m a Survivor” and a framed Breast Cancer Survivor Award. She announced the name of each woman and the number of years she had survived breast cancer.
The women, wearing many shades of pink, included: Stephanie Mitchell, 9 years; Rhonda Smith, 9 years; Verna Graham, 25 years; Niece Sneed, 13 years; Shirley Karger, 17 years; Nancy Bourke, 13 years; Gwendolyn Terry Lee, 10 years; Sheila Howard-Johnson, 5 years, Devon Waters-Davis, 1 year; Tashara Mitchell, 5.5 years; and Joann Hamilton, 14 years. Also recognized were Lukecia Coakley, 10 years, and Keisha Clayton, 9 years, who were not in attendance.
After the celebration, Nancy Bourke, who is celebrating her victory of more than 13 years said, “To be recognized by our City and our Council and Vice Mayor — I can’t tell you what it means to me. It’s such a deep feeling. I’ve met so many other survivors who are incredible.”
Joann Hamilton, a 14-year survivor and friend of Bourke’s added, “I’m grateful for the City of Homestead recognizing us. To me being a survivor comes from your faith, the love of your family and friends and the man upstairs watching over us.”