By Bernetta Townsend

“D.C. SPEAKS” is a series branching from the AFRO’s goal of engaging residents in the storytelling of their own communities.  To continue providing hyper local accounts to readers, the AFRO has taken to the streets and reached back into neighborhoods to offer residents an opportunity to share their experiences, stories, passions and opinions.  Through interviews and submissions the AFRO is amplifying voices from all over D.C. and encouraging residents to “SPEAK.” As October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month winds down, survivor Bernetta Townsend shared her story.

At the time I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in August 2017, my family and I had been dealing with my 5 year old grandson being diagnosed with leukemia 7 months earlier.  Although my family had experienced cancer before with my mother, my maternal grandmother and aunt, this time was completely different. This time, I had to totally depend on God for myself.  

Bernetta Townsend is a breast cancer survivor, who bravely shared part of her victorious battle with the AFRO.

I had a lot of questions for God- questions like “Lord, what in the world is going on?  How can I support my family? How are we to do this? What’s the next step?” My heart was heavy because I didn’t have my mother to go to.  I was freaking out on the inside and afraid to expose my fear. I didn’t know how to do this journey and I didn’t know what to expect from day-to-day. As I was educating myself on this deadly disease, I knew I had to stay positive and keep my faith in God.  While praying and talking to God, I learned to trust Him completely.

God promised me that I would be alright if I continued to lean on Him and not be afraid.  

For two- and-a-half years of eight chemotherapy treatments, six weeks of radiation daily, four surgeries and unexpected moments, I kept God close and leaned on the prayers of the warriors who prayed on my behalf.  

I am so grateful for my three daughters, Shavoune, Travoune and Daneisha; my sister, Yolanda, and my dad, who were there with me every step of the way; my seven grandchildren were my comfort and my inspiration.  My family and my friends were caregivers and supporters who helped me when I couldn’t care for myself. Most of all, I learned to let my faith be bigger than my fear.