My name is Pamela Burnett, and I am a breast cancer survivor. For 18 months prior to receiving my diagnosis, I was told by radiologists that all tests revealed that I simply had fatty tissue in my breasts, when in fact I had breast cancer. This diagnosis left me stunned. “It’s simply not true,” I told myself. I could not believe it. Yet, whether I wanted to believe it or not, my surgeon confirmed it with three words I will never forget, “You have cancer.” I screamed!
In the months that followed, I went through numerous operations, radiation treatments, and failed breast reconstructive surgery, all while working. As if that were not enough, this ordeal brought about new illnesses. I was soon diagnosed with the onsets of diabetes, hypertension, bleeding ulcers and depression. As a result of my despair, I contemplated a foolish act, which could have cost me my life. Thankfully, I sought professional help instead. This was the best decision I ever made. It became a part of my recovery process.
As a survivor, I know what it is like trying to obtain any type of assistance, while dealing with the reality of this illness. It is very difficult to deal with something that puts in question one’s own mortality. My attempts to be brave only left me frustrated. Those battles were fought and won by the grace and mercy of God. Today, I am healed, and a warrior with a driven purpose.
My journey to recovery led to a new phase in my life. Today, I devote myself to helping cancer patients. Initially, I started working from home. My goal: to provide guidance and assistance to women, children and men who had been diagnosed with cancer. I provided them with information on the various resources (educational and financial) available to them and their families.
I have always enjoyed reading the book of Acts in the Bible. In it, there is a story about a poor, lame man who sat before the Gate at the Temple Beautiful and was healed in the name of Jesus by the apostles Peter and John. The lame man was later seen leaping, running and praising God by the people who had seen him before only as a beggar at the Beautiful Gate. The story continues with Peter saying, “The power of Jesus through faith in His name has made this man strong.”
In 2004, the opening of a support center for African-Americans cancer patients was weighing heavily on my heart. I wanted to do more—I had to do more. I wanted to provide a place for African-American cancer patients and their families to come to and discuss their problems, fears and concerns. It would be a place where they could seek guidance; voice their frustrations; have their needs and desires met; so that the stress in their lives, caused by their illness, would be alleviated. I felt that without this type of support they would lose all hope. They would feel as if they had no one to turn to during their journey. I wanted them to know that they could trust me, because was one of them— A SURVIVOR. I am a breast cancer survivor who did not give up hope or faith. Because of the battle that I won through the grace and mercy of God, in 2006, THE BEAUTIFUL GATE CANCER SUPPORT & RESOURCE CENTER opened its doors with a mission: to provide African-Americans with the support they need to survive this illness. The center also serves the community by increasing cancer awareness among African Americans in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
THE BEAUTIFUL GATE CANCER RESOURCE CENTER WEB SITE: WWW.THEBEAUTIFULGATE.NET