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Trina and Cheryl

Trina Bediako and her family are 1921 Society members. Trina is CEO of a baking company owned by her family; her father, Tilmon Brown, is the Chairman. 

Cheryl Williams is a retired pharmaceutical sales representative. A breast cancer survivor, she promotes cancer screenings in the community through her church as part of Stop Cancer in Its Tracks (SCIIT), a partnership between the Taussig Cancer Institute and faith-based organizations.

TRINA: I’m grateful to be able to meet you and to hear more about your journey, because you’re just a ray of sunshine today. 

CHERYL: Well, aren’t you the best?  I have a mammogram every year. One year, they found two little nodules. I had stage 1 estrogen-related cancer. My first thought was, “Oh my God, I’m going to die.” But I didn’t want to show my fear. I put on this brave front: “OK — I got this.”  I had to have a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. As of now, 15 years later, I’m cancer-free. 

TRINA: That’s wonderful! 

Cheryl and Trina exchange high-fives. 

CHERYL: I’ve carried that gratitude — good word — with me when I talk to other people.  Because I’ve been involved with this cancer ministry through my church, I spend a lot of time following up with individuals who call me. When I answer the phone, they’ve got this sadness. There are tears. I say, “OK — tell me what’s going on.” I just try to be as supportive as possible. 

TRINA: My father is a Christian man with a hardworking ethic. Every time he was promoted, my family moved. He’d call my mother and say, “Get them ready.” Every Sunday, we went to church. 

CHERYL: I know that, girl. 

TRINA: No matter where we were. That was the foundation.  As they raised us, my parents taught us about giving. My mother always said if your hand is not extended to give … 

CHERYL: Nothing goes … 

TRINA: ... nothing goes back in.  I’ve achieved some things in my life that I couldn’t have dreamed of. Every now and then, I pinch myself. I’m more than grateful.  God has blessed my family. It’s nothing if we’re just taking. We must give back. 

CHERYL: I’m just extremely grateful to know that you’re as passionate about your giving as you are, because you touch many people in ways that maybe I can’t. I give on a much smaller level. I give of myself. 

TRINA: There is no small giving, ma’am. 

CHERYL: Thank you. Thank you for that.  Before today, we would’ve walked past each other on the street and kept walking. Now we’re a sisterhood. 

TRINA: Hopefully, someone will see this and say, “Let me go make a phone call.” 

CHERYL: Yes. Or, “Let me look into the SCIIT program for my church.” 

TRINA: Why not? How about, “Let me go to the doctor and get that checked out.” 

CHERYL: Oh, girl — say it!  That’s what it’s all about. If I can help somebody along the way, then my living will not have been in vain.