PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia nonprofit dedicated to supporting women who are battling breast cancer is launching part two of a project designed to empower survivors.
“It’s like you are going along in this beautiful weather and a storm comes upon you,” says Tamika Williams.
It’s been 10 months and 12 days since she was diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer. Born deaf, Williams spoke through her interpreter Doreen who helped to verbalize her story of chemo, a double mastectomy and the pain of feeling alone in her diagnosis.
“It was so emotional,” says Williams, “people would tell me, ‘you’ll be okay,’ but they were not walking in my shoes.”
Until she found Traci’s BIO (Beautiful Inside and Out), a group that supports women as they move through breast cancer treatment.
“We learn from each other,” says Williams, “I used to put on a strong face — but the BIO team says — ‘let it out,’ so I did and the more I talk about it the more I feel energized.”
“We just take of pink sisters that come my way,” says Traci Smith, who started Traci’s BIO.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, she soon learned that doctors take care of your body, but she still needed help caring for her spirit. She says Traci’s BIO gives to women some of the little things that cancer takes away.
“Cancer takes away everything that makes you feel beautiful, your hair, your breasts,” she says, “We do things to celebrate life that can help us feel like the woman we used to be.”
Activities like fitness classes, paint parties or pole dancing.
“That was hilarious,” says Smith.
Another thing they do is allow women to share their stories through a book Traci published called, “Pink Sister Chronicles.” This year will make volume two, which is subtitled, “From Bald to Bold.”
“We are hoping that the people who read this will relate to us,” says Smith, “and hopefully they will feel empowered.”
Williams is one of the 12 women featured in “From Bald to Bold.” She says the process, empowered her.
“I want people to know I am a fighter,” she says.
“From Bald to Bold” will be released on Friday. Traci’s BIO will hold a book release party at the African-American Museum of Philadelphia.