SOROR BENZIE BRINSON: FIGHTER. SURVIVOR. INSPIRATION.
Three of her mom’s seven sisters had breast cancer. Her cousin she was very close to her died of breast cancer in 2013. In 2014, Soror Benzie Brinson was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. But, instead of seeing it as a death sentence, as many would, Soror Brinson decided she didn’t have time for it. She buckled in and set her mind to winning the fight for her life. Winning is exactly what she did.
“I didn’t have time for that drama,” she says. “I could either get busy living or get busy dying. I had too much living to do.”
She’s a wife, mother, educator, friend, mentor, and most importantly a woman of God. He clearly had more work for her to do.
A SIGN BEYOND THE GRAVE; DIAGNOSIS
Soror Brinson began to get annual breast cancer screenings in her 40s. All of them came back negative for breast cancer. But It was a breast cancer warning sign her late cousin shared with her before she died that prompted her to take her annual screening a step further.
“Before she died my cousin told me that an inverted nipple was a sign of cancer,” she shares. “One morning when I was looking in the mirror, I noticed that my nipple was pushed inward.”
Recalling her cousins word of caution, she made and appointment, and was subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer.
A DRAMA-FREE FIGHT FOR HER LIFE
She insisted that she was not about the drama of breast cancer. So, when she shared what she was going through with people, it was on a need to know basis. When those that needed to know responded with pity and tears, she shut them down.
She needed support. She needed prayers. She would eventually need a little help. But, she didn’t need pity and tears and grief. She was not dying and was not about to let anyone put her in an early grave. She was living. She had too much to live for. She was poised to fight and that she did.
Soror Brinson educated herself about breast cancer, learning that the annual screenings only went so far. After all, the screenings had missed the cancer that the doctors said had to have been growing in her body for at least three years. Frustrated and angry, she turned this part of her testimony into a message.
“If it looks like something is off with your breasts, get them checked,” she advises. “Push for doctors to go beyond the routine screenings. Demand they give you the best screening.”
With purpose and passion, she encourages all women to get their screenings, pay attention to their bodies, and do preventive care.
If you’ve never had a breast exam, she encourages, “It’s never too late to start. Definitely get it. Don’t make any assumptions about your body.”
GO BEYOND THE NORM
Soror Brinson says breast cancer awareness walks and funding research are is fine, but ultimately, there is a need to go beyond entry level prevention.
“The government doesn’t really require the appropriate level of prevention and care that should be provided,” she adds.
WISDOM FROM A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR
“Your attitude determines your altitude,” she reminds us. “Work with your doctors. Surround yourself with people who offer support in words and in action.”
Most importantly, “Don’t focus on dying.”
As the year four survivor proclaims us, “I’m too busy living to focus on dying.”