MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - While in the midst of a fight against cancer, a young woman shared her story about her sorority's support and sisterhood.
Markisha Williams is the mom of an energetic 1-year-old. Then, at age 29, she found a lump in her breast.
"It's shocking. Nobody thinks at this age that you'd be worried about getting cancer," Markisha said. "When you first find out about cancer, it's scary and all you think is that this may be the end of my life."
The lump was cancerous: stage two invasive ductal carcinoma. Markisha's doctors started chemotherapy right away in an attempt to shrink the mass.
"Most of the time when young African-American women have cancer, it's a triple negative, which means that its very aggressive," she said.
Markisha is grateful. Her diagnosis is triple positive and thus less aggressive.
Apprehensive, she told her sorority sisters at Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Her sorority is filled with young women she shared a bond with for more than a decade.
"When I told them, a lot of them cried right along with me. So, having them there to lift my spirits has been wonderful."
"Our sisterhood means a lot to us," her sorority sister, Joan Williams, said. "It brought us together."
Losing her hair was one of Williams' greatest fears. To calm that fear, her sisters surprised her with a custom wig and planned other small gestures of support.
"We came up with the idea of an encouragement calendar," said Joan. They created wristbands and t-shirts that read 'Kure for Kisha.'
The sorority plans to show off those shirts in the first Sista Strut held in Memphis. Sista Strut is a benefit walk aimed at raising awareness about breast cancer among women of color.
Nearing the final phase of her treatment, Markisha said sharing her struggle actually gave her strength.
"If I can help one person find cancer at an earlier stage and possibly save their life, then this won't all be in vain," she said.
Studies show that African-American women are more likely to get breast cancer at a younger age. They also have a breast cancer death rate twice that of Caucasian women of the same age.
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