Cancer survivor inspires fundraising walk
MORGAN CITY, La. -- It is inconceivable to most people to be diagnosed with breast cancer once. Four times is a nightmare.
But that is precisely what Keisha Johnson Brown, formerly of Morgan City and now living in Mount Pleasant, Mich., has gone through, while serving as an inspiration to those around her.
“She’s fighting, and she’s in great spirits. She’s still working and coaching, being a mom and a wife. (She’s an) inspiration to a lot in her hometown,” her older sister, Angela Young, said.
Brown has been such an inspiration to her sister and a group of friends during her cancer fights that they created Wings of Faith — a non-profit organization under the auspices of New Zorah Baptist Church in Morgan City — which seeks to make the lives of cancer patients a little easier.
Brown says her big sister is doing an amazing job.
“Corporate is taking over raising funds for research and doing a great job. But we need to remember those in the community who need instant help right now. What she’s doing is just phenomenal, and it will be a direct impact on the community and that’s what it’s about. I’m very, very proud of her,” Brown said of Young.
Young said the organization, formed in March, will provide gas cards for cancer patients who need to go to doctor visits. But, she said, they want to do more, such as providing funds for the patients to get something to eat while out-of-town at doctor visits, pay for medication and possibly pay for women who need mammograms but cannot afford them.
Cash cards for cancer patients will be at the Medicine Shoppe, while gas cards will be at oncologist offices, Young said.
It’s a situation Brown and her family know a bit about.
Brown found out in 2005 that she had breast cancer for the first time. It came back. And then it came back again in January 2012. She finished chemotherapy and radiation in December 2012. Then she found out her cancer had come back for the fourth time in February, her sister said.
In the middle of all these trials, Brown had a daughter, Angel, whom she calls her “God-sent,” Young said.
Because of the outpouring of love in her Michigan community, Brown began her own foundation in 2009.
The idea for Angel Wings was launched in 2008 when Brown was first diagnosed.
The Angel Wings Fund, named for Brown’s daughter, is designed to help children whose parent has passed away due to cancer in the form of a college scholarship. It is also hoped that this will lessen the burden placed on the surviving parent. Another mission of the Angel Wings fund is to bring cancer education events to schools, making children aware of the many types of cancer at an early age. These events can range from health fairs to motivational speakers, Brown said.
Her organization will benefit anyone in the United States, not just in Michigan, she said.
Brown “was our inspiration for wanting to do things in the community,” Young said.
Wings of Faith’s first fundraiser will be the Walking on the Wings of Faith 5k Cancer Walk June 8 in Morgan City.
The cost is $20 per participant. It starts at 7:30 a.m. in Lawrence Park.
Morgan City Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi will be on hand to cut the ribbon, Young said.
The walk proceeds down Second Street, left on Onstead Street, down First Street to Leona Street, up Federal Avenue, turning on Kidd Street and back up Second Street to end at the park. It is not a timed walk, and no prizes will be given out. The deadline for registering to guarantee a shirt on race day is May 15. Late registration will be between 6:30 and 7:15 a.m. on the day of the race.
To register, for information on the organization, or for help as a cancer patient, call Young at 985-255-6857, Precious Dugas at 985-312-4468 or Carlise Colbert at 985-628-1414.
Help is available for any cancer patient in St. Mary Parish.
To donate to the Angel Wings Fund, visit www.mpacf.org/funds/angelwings.html.