Wednesday, February 12, 2014

BOLD AND BREASTLESS


February 11th is just another day for most, but it is a day of confirmation for Shondia McFadden-Sabari.  On this date in 2011, God’s promise unfolded for Shondia, she was officially cancer free.  Shondia’s story is one filled with both trials and triumph but despite everything, you can witness God’s favor as you travel through her life.  I remember strolling down my Facebook timeline a few weeks ago and seeing a post by Shondia.  In the post she was reaching out to a friend who was battling cancer but more than that, battling doubt and depression. She offered words of encouragement along with a photo that made my proud to know such a bold, fierce and fearless woman.  The photo was of herself topless and breastless.  She displayed her scars to promote the courage and faith in God that she had in another women.  Why because she is her sister’s keeper.   

Shondia McFadden-Sabari lives in Atlanta, with her husband and their two children. Shondia is the Executive Director of BOLDANDBREASTLESS, Inc. She was raised by her maternal grandparents, the late Eva and Levan McFadden in Timmonsville, South Carolina. Shondia has traveled all over the world with her husband, who is a Major, in the Army. Shondia earned a bachelor’s of science degree in 1997, in Child and Family Development, from Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina. She earned a masters degree in 1998, in Human Resources Development, from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. A former elementary school teacher, Shondia is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Shondia is the Georgia State Coordinator, for the Delta Sigma Theta/American Cancer Society partnership. She’s a board member, of the Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition Fund. Shondia is a LIFE member, of the National Council of Negro Women. A documentary of Shondia’s journey premiered at the Black Women’s Agenda Luncheon, at the 2011 Congressional Black Caucus. GE sponsored Shondia for their 2011 War on Cancer Campaign. Shondia was the Keynote Speaker, at the 2012 James E. Clyburn Research Scholarship Foundation’s, annual luncheon. Additionally, Shondia spoke at the 2012 sixth annual, National Conference on Health Disparities. Essence.com, Yahoo News, BET.com, and the Huffington Post have done articles on Shondia. She spoke at the Atlanta Braves, 2013 Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Shondia also spoke at the Breast Party Ever, a national event sponsored by BET and Planned Parenthood. Shondia was one of five breast cancer survivors, honored by the Atlanta Falcons at their 2013, Breast Cancer Awareness game, televised on ESPN. FOX 5 Atlanta has featured Shondia in several news segments. Shondia loves cooking for her husband and children, spending time with senior citizens, and attending networking events. She enjoys traveling and sharing her amazing story with others. Her motto is, “I scared the hell out of cancer, so it took my breasts and left!”

On December 23, 2010, shortly after her husband returned home from his second deployment, Shondia was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Shondia say she was blessed despite the diagnoses because, “He allowed my husband to make it back home safely, so that he could be with me when I got the news and started on my journey!”   No lumps, no discomfort, no discharge, nothing to make her think she had breast cancer. Shondia says, “It was like a still small voice that said I needed to get a mammogram. I wasn’t hearing strange voices and I didn’t see any shadows! It was the Holy Spirit that led me to get that mammogram.”  The very next day, Shondia went to have a mammogram and almost two weeks later she was diagnosed with cancer in both breasts! In her right breast, stage 0. She also had two different types of cancer in her right breast, DCIS and LCIS. In her left breast, DCIS. However, there was an area that was a stage 0 and another area that was a stage 1A, that was near a blood vessel!  February 11, 2011, Shondia underwent a double mastectomy.  She later made the bold decision not to have reconstructive surgery and doesn’t wear breast forms. Diagnosed at the age of 36, is truly a survivor and proof that early detection can and can save your life.  She say, “ I’m thankful that I’m confident and bold enough to show other women, that if they get a Mastectomy, it’s okay to have reconstructive surgery or wear prosthesis. However, it’s okay to be breastless too!”   Life is all that really matters

“I’m so thankful, God allowed me to survive breast cancer! I’m eager, to share my testimony with the world! Early detection is so important! I was scared; when I was told I had breast cancer! But, I never questioned GOD, I was never depressed or angry and I never will be! I’m just so thankful; I passed the test that allowed me to have this amazing testimony. I’m on a mission, to inspire people that have been affected by cancer. One thing is for sure; my breast cancer experience didn’t affect my self-esteem! Sometimes, I look at pictures of myself when I had breasts and jokingly I say to those twins, what did I do? You two tried to kill me and I took good care of both of you, for 36 years! Well, I don’t even miss them and my husband is still happy and in love with me! I think maybe they’re somewhere in a lab, being studied! Perhaps, floating in a river! Either way, they’re gone or the cancer is gone! I’m so thankful, that I didn’t have to do chemotherapy or radiation. Also, my margins are clear and so is my mind! Additionally, my onco type dx score was a 7. In the bible, 7 mean completion! Therefore, I will thank God every day, for healing my body and for allowing me to be completely healthy and completely cancer free!”

From Shondia’s experience with cancer, she gave birth to her organization BOLDANDBREASTLESS, Inc.  a non-profit organization formed to educate, inspire, and motivate women, children, and men that have been affected by breast cancer. The organization  raises and use funds to increase awareness, assist cancer patients, cancer survivors and co-survivors, as well as motivate the general public, to take an active role in participating and partnering with cancer and health institutions and other advocates to help find a cure for cancer.  Some of Shondia’s most recognized work is more a labor of love for her.  She has this amazing love for others and a dedication to encourage, empower and educate as many people as she can no matter what their situation is.  Proof of this is the relationship that she has formed with Jakorey Moore, a sweet little boy living with brain cancer.  Because of her relationship Jakorey he has touched the hearts and received the prayers of many.  


Shondia is such an inspiration to many women including myself.  She never hesitates to share her testimony and give unselfishly to others.  She could very well have gone through this journey quietly and returned to normal life, but she didn't because she knew that she had work to do.  When I thought about this, it reminded me of a statement that I made to Jakorey’s mom.  Now I know that it holds true for many of us if not all.  “God brings us to situation not for us but many times for others,” this is certainly true for Shondia because her message continues to save live, encourage others and empower them to live beyond their situation.   Shondia McFadden-Sabari; Passionate (about life), Happy (with who she is), Appreciative (of God for his blessings) and True (to herself and others……. P.H.A.T GIRL FRESH!!!!! 



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