Joy Dabney-Howard “I Am A Survivor” The Tale of Two Sisters

Cancer has been recognized as one of the world’s number one killer. There have been more than one million people in the United States whom have been diagnosed with cancer each year. Two out of three people who have been diagnosed with cancer in today’s society and are able to survive at the minimum of 5 years due to extensive studies, research, test and support. There are 71 various types of known cancer that exist today.

Joy Howard3What is cancer? Cancer is a generic name for that describes more than 100 various diseases. Every cancer begins because abnormal cells grow out of control. If the cancer is not recognized and treated in time t can lead to serious illness as well as death.

Today, I will be interviewing with two blood sisters who had been diagnosed with cancer, Ophelia Dabney-Reese from Austin, Texas, who is a retired school teacher, gospel singer, poet and author and Joy Dabney-Howard who is also a retired school teacher and works for the Cancer Society and is also a gospel singer. Both of these fabulous women with their strong faith were able to overcome their battle with cancer. I am starting with one of my favorite people in the world who has always been an inspiration to me. She has survived many obstacles and so today we will be discussing some of her trials.

Shola: It is hard to believe that you are a 60 year old woman. You look great!!! You are a survivor of cancer, stroke and manic depression?

Joy: Yes

Shola: How did you survive?

Joy: It was God & determination.

Shola: Who did you lean on for support?

Joy: My church, my pastor and his wife as well my other church (Mt. Gilead)

Shola: What is the name of your current church?

Joy: Breath of Life Church with Apostle Robert Alexander.

Shola: How did your family react when they found out?

Joy: It didn’t hit them until the day of the surgery and I had an enormous family support team.

Shola: Did any of this affect your singing abilities?

Joy: I couldn’t reach some high notes and I still can’t, but other than that I take medication. I also lost my hair in addition I find it difficult to sleep because of the thyroid medication but I do sleep during the day. But I am still able to sing but not like before.

Shola: Your sister has Cancer as well. So, how did you feel when you found out about it?

Joy: I told her that I would be her inspiration and I refuse to allow negative people in her surroundings.

Shola: You are working for the Cancer Society now? What made you decide to work for them?

Joy: I had a friend at church who told me about the job because of my testimony of being a cancer survivor when she told me of the job at first they didn’t interview me then later they called me in for a position that was opening for an interview.

Shola: So, what do you do for the Cancer Society?

Joy: I do various presentations provide information to the public about cancer and awareness. Quotation-Elizabeth-Taylor-living-example-people-Meetville-Quotes-204006

Shola: By working for the Cancer Society has this taught you a lot?

Joy: It has taught me how to conquer many challenges that others have gone through with cancer.

Shola: How long did you have cancer?

Joy: I didn’t even know I had it.

Shola: How did you find out?

Joy: I was getting hoarse so I went to the doctor and he told me that I had a tumor which was size of a peach, but I had it for quite some time.

Shola: So, what has been your motivation to survive?

Joy: God, determination and my children. I was not going to give up and I didn’t and I won’t give up.

Shola: So, how do you feel about life now?

Joy: Now, I take nothing for granted. Sitting outside and listening to the birds I look as a blessing. Every morning I have to get up each day and thank God and give him the glory.

Shola: How did you survive your depression?

Joy: That was a hard one. I was listening to Joyce Myers she was giving a message that you can’t live by your emotions, so every morning I realize that I can’t no longer live by how I feel and God told me many years ago that I need to walk each day and start each day with him with praises. But the depression still tries to come because it was a generational curse on my mother’s side she had it and she use to complain. But, since then as an adult I have realize like Joyce Meyer says it is an emotion you can’t let it overtake you.

Shola: What advise would you give to others who have been diagnosed with cancer and other challenges?

Joy: Don’t give up and don’t look at the situation just look to God.

Shola: Thank you for taking the time for this interview for I know you live such a productive busy life and I really do appreciate you.
Joy: It was a pleasure.

#joyhoward #cancersurvivor #sisters #cancer #fight #twosistersfight @ujimamagazine #ujimamagazine @paigeturna @lifemusicatx #depression #cancersociety @mlinnen

Olushola Anyi Odeh is a contributing writing to Ujima Magazine.

To read the interview with Ophelia Dabney-Reese visit

Damita Miller-Shanklin

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