Health Team

Raleigh breast cancer survivor runs Komen race to help others

Posted June 8, 2016 12:30 p.m. EDT
Updated June 10, 2016 6:44 p.m. EDT

— Over the next 25 years an estimated 25 million women around the world will have their lives put at risk from breast cancer.

That huge number is why the Susan G. Komen Foundation has been so active in raising awareness and money to find a cure. One Raleigh woman is celebrating 22 years as a breast cancer survivor and 20 years participating in the Komen Race for a Cure.

In 1994, Phyllis Stevenson remembers one shower that changed her life.

"I was taking a shower, and I just rubbed and there was a surface lump (on my breast)," Stevenson said.

Stevenson had the lump checked out, and the diagnosis was breast cancer. She had the lump surgically removed, which was followed by aggressive treatments of chemotherapy and radiation.

Now, 22 years later, she credits early detection and her faith.

"I'm a believer, and so I believe God was taking care of me," Stevenson said.

Stevenson knew she had to give back, especially to help other African-American women facing the same diagnosis.

"African-Americans are at higher risk and die more often from breast cancer," Stevenson said.

She joined the organization Save Our Sisters to raise awareness among African-American women—and now men.

"And our focus has gone from breast cancer to include prostate and colorectal cancer," Stevenson said.

Part of Stevenson's giving back involves being a part of the annual Komen Race for the Cure

"The Komen race is really important because it's a celebration," Stevenson said. "A celebration of survivorship."

The race is also a way to increase survivorship by raising money for breast cancer research.

"I looked in my drawers, and I saw all of these Komen T-shirts," Stevenson said. "I'm like, 'What will I do with them?'"

A giant quilt came to mind. It's a symbol of the Komen mission as well as her own.

"Saving lives, and eradicating this disease, breast cancer," Stevenson said.