September Survivor Spotlight: Latoya Brown

latoyaQ: Tell me a little about yourself

Latoya: I recently moved back to Macon from Virginia to spend more time with my three daughters Lajessye, Makayla, and Briana who all live here in Macon.  I also love helping out with my two grandbabies. I really enjoy giving back to the community in any way I can. I volunteered with the Komen Tidewater Affiliate during my time in Virginia. I also helped organize a cruise for The American Cancer Society that was devoted to survivors. I really enjoyed interacting with the survivors in preparation for the cruise.

Q: Tell us about your breast cancer journey:

Latoya:  Well at first I really did not want to go get my mammogram, but thanks to consistent encouragement from my office manager, I went and had my first one when I was 39. I am very thankful that I did because they found a tumor on my chest wall, and that was followed with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy in 2007 and 2008.

Q: What do you want people to know?

Latoya:  I would encourage everyone to listen to your body, watch your body, always check your breasts, and get your recommended screenings. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Q: How has Komen affected your life?

Latoya: Komen has done so much for me and for many others throughout our community. I value their amazing awareness and educational outreach opportunities and what they have done for myself and other survivors. Komen is able to refer people who do not have insurance to places that will help take care of you. They teach us to make our breast health a top priority. I have been volunteering for Komen since 2010 and I enjoy working health fairs and speaking in public. While I am at health fairs I really like to pass out the genetic tree to families with children, because it is important for them to know their risk. When I was young I did not know what to ask. The educational materials that Komen distributes through the community can help make a difference.

Q: Who is your hero?

Latoya:  I would say I have two heroes. My first one would definitely be my best friend since junior high, Barbara Purcell. She has stuck by me through every stage in my journey from day one. No matter what I was facing, she was always right there by my side. She truly is the definition of a breast friend. Both of us have three children and two grandbabies! My second hero would be Lillie Smith; she really encouraged me during my breast cancer journey by bringing me food to help me stay energized. She always brightened my day. She did end up passing away while I was living in Virginia, but she fought one heck of a fight.

Q: What inspires you?

Latoya (With a big smile):  My kids, my girls are what inspire me!