Ruth Travis is a 14 year breast cancer survivor and founder of Ruth’s Pink House. (Courtesy photo)

By Beverly Richards
Special to the AFRO

The Rev. Dr. Ruth Travis was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. “I didn’t have a lump. The cancer cell was the size of a dot of pepper and located in the milk duct,” she said. In 2008, Dr. Travis had a lumpectomy. Three weeks later, she was given MammoSite, a targeted radiation therapy treatment. “It’s where they placed a small, soft balloon in my lumpectomy cavity,” she explained. 

Dr. Travis then began a grueling round of radiation treatments twice a day, five consecutive days. But she never considered her diagnosis as a death sentence. Nor did she feel like God “gave” her breast cancer. She feels it was genetic. Today, Dr. Travis is a 14-year breast cancer survivor. “I feel so blessed. I feel so excited,” she said with gratitude. “I feel God has me here on purpose and for a purpose.” 

The more Dr. Travis thought about it, her course became progressively defined. “I live in a big house and it’s a wonderful place to recuperate from surgery, emotional breakdown or from whatever. So, I started thinking about how I could invite other breast cancer survivors to my house for the weekend.” In time, she shared, God showed her that he wanted her to build the Pink House.

Dr. Travis turned what seemed insurmountable into a crusade for other women.  

The Pink House, when erected, will “be a place of beauty,” said Dr. Travis. It will be a place where breast cancer patients, both women and men, come to retreat, relax, rest, reconnect, rejuvenate, and find peace during their cancer journey. 

While Dr. Travis is still seeking funding and the perfect location for the Pink House, she has been the recipient of awards and donations. She has used the money to help women and men with breast cancer, who are experiencing financial difficulties. She has paid rent, phone bills and water bills. She has even assisted with medical expenses. 

Referrals for assistance come from family and friends. None of the women Dr. Travis has helped came to her because they knew she had money. “I asked my family members if they knew a breast cancer survivor who needs help. My niece said she knew a young lady who needed $800 for her rent. I called her. She wanted to know how it worked, how she would pay it back. I told her she didn’t have to. She started crying and I did too.” Dr. Travis has numerous stories like this one, about reaching out to survivors. “And they make me feel so good,” she said enthusiastically.

When asked for advice for anyone who has received a diagnosis of breast cancer, Dr. Travis advised, “Do whatever you have to do to get the “D” word out, death, of your mind. Find the strength to fight and get yourself a team of people to walk with you on this journey.”

Dr. Travis advocates for breast cancer survivors every day, “And I will do this until the day the Lord calls me home.”

You can donate to Ruth’s Pink House by making checks or money orders payable to Make checks/money orders payable to: Ruth’s Pink House at P.O. Box 32731 Pikesville, Md. 21282-9998 along with Cashapp $Pinkhouse2020

For more information, call 443-961-5743 or email

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