By: Sophia Danner-Okotie

Meet Bettye Griffin from Decatur, Georgia. She’s a 36 year breast cancer survivor. Mrs. Griffin was diagnosed with the disease when she was only 30 years old.

This October, we’re sharing her story as part of Besida’s Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. Last month, we sat down with Mrs. Griffin, tied her pink head wraps, and heard her story of survival.

“It was January of 1983. I got ready to lay down and get me some rest, and I felt different. I felt my breasts and there was a knot there,” says Mrs. Griffin.

She was a mother of minor girl at that time. It took doctors performing two mammograms and a biopsy to detect the cancer. Surgeons performed a mastectomy immediately after the diagnosis.

“When I got out of the hospital, I went in my daughter’s room and boohoed. I got it out. I boohoed.”

She began chemotherapy after her surgery. Soon after she stopped the treatments.

“I stopped chemo because I was so sick. So I said, if I’m going to die, I’m going to die feeling better than this.”

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. However, breast cancer rates have declined in recent years. Early detection and an improved screening process has played a big role in the decline.

Doctors encourage all adult women to perform self-exams once per month. Women who are 40 and older are advised to get a mammogram every year or two.

For Bettye Griffin, fighting the cancer meant living long enough to watch her daughter grow up. 

“I prayed that God will let me live until I turned 50 in order for my daughter to be able to take care of herself. But God had other plans for me. I’m 67 now. Praise God for that!”

For more information on how you can prevent the disease, please visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s website.