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Pink Christmas Gala honors cancer survivors

Breast cancer survivor Stephanie Hendricks speaks during Monica’s Hope first Pink Christmas Gala Saturday at the House on Ellicott Hill. All proceeds from the event will go on the fund mammograms for local women. (Devonte Demby / The Natchez Democrat)

Breast cancer survivor Stephanie Hendricks speaks during Monica’s Hope first Pink Christmas Gala Saturday at the House on Ellicott Hill. All proceeds from the event will go on the fund mammograms for local women. (Devonte Demby / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Surviving breast cancer is a feat that should be honored, not ignored.

Cancer supporters gathered Saturday at the House on Ellicott Hill for Monica’s Hope first Pink Christmas Gala to honor cancer survivors and those who have lost their battle to cancer.

Monica’s Hope is a non-profit organization founded by Monica Smith, a local breast cancer survivor.

Monica’s Hope strives to raise money to fund mammograms for local women in the area, while also helping fund hospital traveling expenses.

Several speakers, some who survived breast cancer, spoke during the event.

However, guest speaker Karen Green never battled cancer, but has lost loved ones because of the treacherous illness.

“Cancer is out there, and it’s out there just like a raging war,” Green said.

Green spoke on behalf of her mother, Katie Lee Jones and daughter, Kendra Jones, who lost their battle to cancer.

“Ask anybody about Kendra Jones, they will tell you she was a fighter,” Green said.

Green said she is often asked “how does she hold up” after losing bother her mother and daughter to cancer.

“It’s by the grace of God and the strength that (Kendra) had,” Green said. “If she did not have the strength to endure what she was going through, I would not have made it.

“I thank God for all of her strength. She touched so many people’s lives.”

Green encouraged those in attendance to visit the doctor yearly to get check for cancer.

As the event moved on, breast cancer survivors Meg Freeman and Stephanie Hendricks shared their testimony.

“The one thing that hits us all is cancer,” Freeman said. “Cancer changes you as a person — I’m sure it changes other family members as well.”

Freeman is the founder and organizer of Team Tatas, a Miss-Lou Relay for Life team that raises money for breast cancer research and awareness.

Freeman said it does not matter whether someone is white or black, but the one thing that affects everyone is cancer.

“I think my purpose is to be here to help educate others,” Freeman said.

Hendricks stood before the audience next to the pink breast cancer ribbon, reminding everyone not to worry.

“It’s nothing to cry about, it’s something to get fixed,” Hendricks said. “Never once did I say ‘why me,’ we should never question God.”

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