Cancer survivor’s battle inspires life celebration

Published 11:44 am Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Audrey Lee lights the memorial candle with her husband Duke Lee. -- FRANK DAVIS | TIDEWATER NEWS

Audrey Lee lights the memorial candle with her husband Duke Lee. — FRANK DAVIS | TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—Corey Olds, of the Empowerment and Uplifting Foundation, remarked that on Aug. 20 at around midnight, he was reading the Facebook page of Audrey Lee. This social media site revealed her struggles and survival with cancer. At the time Lee placed that information on her page, she noted she was a six-month survivor.

At that point Olds realized that he had to do something special for her. After first talking with his wife and going through some ideas, he next consulted with his personal party planner, his mother, Vianne Olds. Shortly after that she soon came up with an idea for her son. This resulted in the inaugural Shades of Pink Gala, “A Celebration of Life,” which was held Sunday at the Regional Workforce Development Center of Paul D. Camp Community College.

During his opening remarks in the welcome, Olds said that one out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and many of them could be in the Franklin area. He therefore wanted to sponsor this event as “A Celebration of Life,” which would encourage those families, which may have had lost members to the disease, as well as those who were survivors.

Latoya M. Griffin, a cancer survivor, got the audience fired up and up on their feet as she sang “How Great is My God,” and “I Won’t Complain.” The gala also featured a tribute by Pamela Jones-Watford, who told about her mother’s battle with the disease and her victory in the end as she was called from labor to rest.

Video presentations were shown about both Griffin and Lee, as they talked with counselors about their struggles from the beginning, when they first were told about their cancer, until their success in overcoming.

After dinner was served, Delegate Roslyn C. Tyler, House of Delegates for the 75th District was introduced as the keynote speaker. In her remarks, Tyler addressed the importance of the Affordable Health Care Act as it related to helping to allow mammograms and screening to be done. She thanked the foundation for having this event and encouraged all to be more involved in the community.

“Don’t be AWOL, but jump in the middle,” Tyler said from a recent statement that she had heard from the well-known Rev. T.D. Jakes.

During many points of the program, Lee gave much thanks to God who she said had forewarned Lee about what was going to happen to her. She also thanked her husband, Duke, members of her family, church family, her doctor and the foundation for having the program.

Lastly, Lee invited all cancer survivors to join her in front of the audience. Once assembled, Pastor Pauline Majette delivered a message of hope to them and closed with prayer.