FARRELL – Cancer has taken a toll on all walks of life. But there are many roads to recovery.
How to begin that journey was the theme of a special afternoon service at Valley Baptist Church in Farrell on Sunday. Along with prayer and song, an audience of 75 or so heard how cancer victims faced the disease – both mentally and physically.
Those giving witness of their fight with cancer included Anthony Johnson Sr., who was diagnosed with throat cancer.
“I can’t talk too much right now,’’ Johnson said with a small rasp to his voice. “But I’m cancer-free now. I put my trust in Jesus.’’
Curtis Tanner gave his account of dealing with prostate cancer.
“As a young kid, I didn’t know what cancer really was,’’ Tanner said.
After his diagnosis he told of many sleepless nights.
“I wanted this to be done now,’’ Tanner said of treatments to remove the cancer from his body.
He has begun his recovery, but Tanner said he learned early diagnosis is essential.
“If you love and you love somebody, get yourself checked out.’’ he said.
Those stricken with cancer also have to deal with the everyday issues of their lives, said Shelly Doris, who was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I was a mother of two working three jobs,’’ she told the audience.
She was told that she had cancer while on the phone with a healthcare worker.
“I screamed. I could not stop,’’ Doris said.
When visited by her mother, Doris said her mom could see in her face that she had been given bad news.
“I cried and I cried,’’ Doris said.
But as word spread, friends began calling her to give their support.
Undergoing a double mastectomy, the thought of the disease inflicted mental anguish.
“Every day, every single day, I cried and thought the cancer would come back,’’ Doris said.
Yet, she said her recovery is well underway.
“I’m still on the journey,’’ she said.
The Rev. Carmen Craig, pastor of Greater Morris Chapel AME Church of Farrell, told of a far different experience with cancer. Craig was incorrectly diagnosed as having cancer.
“I didn’t have cancer,’’ Craig said. “But when I was told that I did, I froze.’’ The diagnosis was changed a few weeks after the original diagnosis.
The service was presented by The Difference Ministry and Strength Together Makes Moves, a non-profit organization headed by founder Tallisa Lites-Johnson.
“I started the organization six years ago and we hold a service like this every year,’’ Lites-Johnson said. “We want to help people who need support.’’