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Keep Looking Up Child! a cancer journey.

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When gathered together, we find our light.

As each spark shifts and multiplies,

Scattering its radiance on our ordinary lives

Like everything precious, before a given diagnosis

 

Or a recovering moment we hide behind forged smiles,

fancy garments, flawless makeup,

Isn’t it more valuable when shared?

Like every common miracle

Made of the effects of stars.

 

We must let the light shine

And then watch out for it falling too

On each other’s faces

During trials and triumphant

 

So, count the beams, yeah catch them

Reflect upon them

See the HOPE, live the promise.

Never hide your face in a setback

Keep looking up child,

Never hide your fear in silence.

 

Listen to those you cherish,

Hold them in your arms,

Let them hear your heartbeat

Tell your truth with tears

Tell your story with laughter

Tell your love with joy

Show the world, You are still greater than cancer!

Excerpt from upcoming book,

‘RELENTLESS’ 

fighting cancer with a story line

Its OCTOBER, cancer awareness month! Be a movement for awareness in your community!

Let’s continue to empower cancer survivors, encourage early detection/treatment, comfort families of those who lost the fight, but won the battle and count down to Team #GreaterThanCancer – OCT 26th Soup’s On Cancer Fundraising Dinner and ‘Relay for Life’ – American Cancer Society Cancer Awareness Walk on OCT 27th in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Yours in HOPE,

Yinka.

 Be encouraged as I share ‘Lauren Daigle’s ‘Look Up Child’

 

 

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Approaching the Elephant in our room.

DSC_0919Here I am trying to breastfeed my 2 month-old-baby, MY GOODNESS!! She’s making such a fuss! It seems like she’s having difficulty latching on or even not sure how to work my nipples! I smiled and said to myself, “Oh, it’s my third baby, so I should be a pro at this” (inward consolation thing). Phew!

I’m admiring this beautiful full curly black-haired baby, her tiny cheek so soft and round like one drenched with precious memories of the sweetness of a baker’s delight; A sugar-covered-jelly donut! Her little black eyes twitched as the bright morning reflection of sunray brushes over her face.

Ah! My post-cancer baby! So squishy and velvety, radiating the most enchanting features of love and beauty.

But there was a problem.

I wasn’t getting enough direct eye contact from her.

Is it that those around me didn’t recognize it or had decided to ignore it? Am I the only one seeing the mighty footprints? Or was I getting paranoid for no darn reason! After all, that’s what I do 5 days a week for other families.

My heart skipped a beat! And when it finally found its way back to my body, it broke into a million pieces when she wouldn’t trace my finger across her face! I quickly went shopping in my brain and bargained for all the best nursery rhymes I could find. Fetched all the Early Intervention child developmental milestones books I could read! As a therapist for child-development myself, it was harder for me to accept the intruding delay that could be, but so much easier for me to bring in all the best child developmental services in Delaware county into my room.ele 1

Even though it was my own child needing early childhood intervention, my commitment was stronger than that of Lady Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones. #GOT

So, Elephant in the room is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth of chaos that is going unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk that no one wants to talk about, discuss or address.ele 3

In the real world where you and I live, it is regarded as our state of mind! It is that nicely swept problem that forcefully resides with us; based on dis-approval, denial and dis-illusion.

But, in the make-believe world we feign, it is an abode for that hush-hush marital insecurity issue, it is that heavy feeling of pain and anguish when one is being used and betrayed, it is that status-quo inadequacy, it is that child still wondering if the term ‘bastard’ is a middle name! It is that sexuality problem never discussed and still un-resolved/that beautiful young lady wondering if true love really still exists after a horrid heart break!

It is that delayed passage of breakthrough or diabolical hunger and quest to make it big and fast in life! It is that infertility no-go area discussion! The nights of free-flowing tears on the loss of a baby or pregnancy, those complicated medical results, un-resolved family drama, carried on from generation to generation! All those frightening controversial issues which is so obvious to everyone who knows about the situation, but which is deliberately ignored because to do otherwise would cause great embarrassment, or trigger arguments or is simply a taboo. What’s the fear? That we could be judged? that the issue ought to be discussed openly, or it can simply be an acknowledgment that the issue is there and not going to go away by itself!

Aren’t some of the things we go through today similar to an Elephant in a room that’s impossible to overlook? like seriously!! ‘Hello…’Am still here!ele 5

Issues that involve social taboo, discussion of race, religion, gender equality or even suicide. Should the people who might have spoken up decide that it is probably best avoided?

I don’t think so. How else would the elephant make an exit? Or am I wrong?

Could it be because our infirmity has now become our identity or because our crisis now defines who we are and forms the familiar guidelines of our life?

With the entrance of an elephant in their room, some people use their weaknesses to get the attention they crave or to keep from assuming any responsibility in their own lives, but not with a huge animal like an elephant starring you in the face day in day out!

What about our own situation that’s so glaring, yet we cover it up with nicely packaged-fragrance, expensive line of make-up with ambiguous price tags to suck in the scars or marks? Or that sensual erotic 6-pack image that attracts only what the eyes can see as the soul bleeds and begs to run far away from its misery!

Isn’t that a cover up for obvious problem or difficult situation that people do not want to talk about?ele 4

Our helplessness can be our most powerful offering – Only if we are willing to be honest and transparent. Admitting the obvious. Sometimes it is a lot easier to just stay in the room and wait than to struggle toward the light without acceptance.

Can you see yourself in this room, with an invisible elephant? Have you been trapped or paralyzed by the pain of loss or rejection or the weight of an intruder in your personal space? Are you taking care of a child with special needs and feeling overwhelmed? Have friends betrayed you and left you lying by a pool of crushed hopes and dreams?

God sees your helplessness. He knows your heart and hears your desperate cry. Stand up today to that intruder in your room, and let God direct your path.

Yours in HOPE as I share ‘Am I Wrong’ by Nico & Vinz.

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

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Ready or Not, Here I come… ‘Should I drop the MIC?

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ready 7Have you ever approached a new birth year (birthday) with some kind of mixed feelings about some beautiful or bitter experiences you’ve carried through to-date?

Does your birthday celebrate your progress or make fun of your weakness? When you finally decide to mentally flip through the events of yester years, do you either marvel or sigh at the thought of certain happenings?

I-D-O-N-T-B-E-L-I-E-V-E-I-T! ‘Kind-of-feeling?

I know I do. Often, I wished I was still that innocent 10-year-old birthday girl adorned in my Peter Pan collar blue and white polka-dot sun dress dancing away to the rhythm of Evelyn King’s 1982 ‘Love Come Down! With not-a-single-care-about-tomorrow or even aware of whatever love was coming down! Until I was asked to take the MIC! ‘And then…

So, I just finished celebrating my 44th birthday (say “Whaaaaat!”)… Yeah ’All-of-me-is-organically 44 years and still growing! (Lol). ‘And am loving it! Fate has been feeding me with un-avoidable memories as a special delicacy, one forbidden to chew. Don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, or more of a déjà vu kind of feeling.

Could it be my medication or hormonal changes? or the so-so-busy schedule I have entwined my life in? whatever it is, I am so ready to take it on and move forward with new hopes. Even as am not so close by to my childhood home and missing all the bells and horns I would have received for another celebration, thank goodness for true and genuine friendship ever-present!

ready 2I am so thankful for silly little things like…singing off tune  with my 4-year-old daughter in the shower, wet toothbrushes serving as our pretend-mic!, OR discussing puberty tolerance with my sprouting oh so-grown tween! (Phew! Teenage dramatic years here-we-come!) OR trying to understand the sudden mother-son bond with my dimpled-face middle child-son! OR playing star war’s Dart Vader with my adorable Autistic students or just being silly and child-like!

Those moments. Priceless and Irreplaceable.

The days of… Am I ready for another treatment? Another blood work? Another scan? Another therapy? Another celebration? It was as if I always just needed a reason to celebrate life to remind myself that I was still living!  But really? Why not? Who wouldn’t? Why not celebrate life when we have it? When our tomorrow is not given.

Today, it doesn’t matter anymore if comedians invented the mic drop, they have arguably played a larger role in popularizing it than their hip-hop counterparts. Like when the character steals the microphone from the emcee, screams into it, holds it out, and drops it to the floor. Isn’t that how our life’s journey is? We pick us, start-up then drop it off…out of?…ready 3

Nowadays, the unknown stretches before us and all we can see are the mistakes we have made and the opportunities we have missed.

Fear has brought us to our knees and we are more desperate than we have ever been in our life.

If you made it to the next birthday each year, be more thankful. Are you ready or not for what’s next? Not really. Still wondering why the MIC should be dropped? Maybe we all need to refocus and adjust our perspective. Don’t you think so?

Life is never going to be perfect this side of town. Never! If you are waiting for every problem to be solved, every circumstance to be just right, every issue to be resolved, you are in for a long wait. Set aside your comfort. Forfeit your convenience and embrace change.

The movie 8 Mile (2002) brought an explosion in interest in rap battles and free-styling, but Rabbit never drops the mic: When he finishes his climactic freestyle and prepares to walk off the stage, he just passes the mic back to his opponent. Are you ready for that? I know I am. So help me God with my personal baton.

Yours in HOPE as I share The Fugee’s “Ready or not”.

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

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Today is, ‘WORLD CANCER DAY!!

Today is World Cancer Day, a day that unites us all by recognizing the impact that cancer has on the worldwide community and our role in taking action to finish the fight.world 2

This year’s World Cancer Day theme, “We can. I can,” encourages us all to explore what we can do – individually and collectively – to reduce the global burden of cancer.

In 2012, over 1.6 million women worldwide were estimated to be diagnosed with new cases of cancer according to the American Cancer Society’s Global Cancer Facts and Figures, 3rd Edition. That statistic shows how critically important it is for us to rally together to ensure that no one will ever have to face this disease alone.less

My hope is that, even as you read this, you will consider taking time to reach out and encourage, uplift or show your support the best way you can.

And after today, when tomorrow comes, My hope is that you still consider reaching out to those closest to you that have been touched by cancer, and celebrate their life and the dedication you have to ensure no one else is touched by this disease or left alone.

world 3Whether it is someone who was recently diagnosed, someone who has been a survivor for decades, or someone who has lost a loved one to cancer, it is important to let them know that on World Cancer Day, your thoughts are with them.

Yours in HOPE. Together We can, I can.

Yinka – Team Greater Than Cancer.IMG_1450

For American Cancer Society

 

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Echoes of 2015: “Keep On Moving, Don’t Stop”

In one word, how would you describe your encounter with the year 2015?

Beyond any doubt, this is certainly my year of “Go, Get it done now”.  Even as am writing this, my head is thrown back in an exaggerated falling motion, hands and eye lashes flapping joyously with a deep amorous laughter (like an excited toddler) While at the back of my head, I envisioned my favorite Trinidadian musician (Mighty Sparrow) playing my favorite soca version of ‘Dancing Queen” as I grooved to the rhythm and yell out…Yes!!

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American Cancer Society – Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk  Team: Greater Than Cancer. OCTOBER 2015

Are you wondering “what planet is she on exactly, with all these gestures of excitement? Eh, common, ‘it’s not even close to what you’re thinking, honestly… (Lol) “so-get-your-crummy-mind-out-of-the refrigerator and listen to what I’ve got to say! (smiles).

Wow! My heart is completely paraded with these un-explainable kind of feeling you get when you just finished scooping up your last spoon of ice cream, its still melting on your tongue, but because you just don’t want to quickly loose that sugar rush sensation, you drag the dissolving process. You smile as you close your eyes, allowing the powerful luscious sensation to play hide and seek in your mouth. Hmmm.

You mutter to yourself, ‘Wholly Guacamole!! ‘This is s-w-e-e-t! You are licking the escaped creamy patch with your tongue and just hoping everyday would be an-ice-cream day, Yeah, it feels good right? Exactly! That’s the cloud I am on.

So, I bet everyone DID something spectacular and different this 2015? Something crazy but excitingly abstract? Something out of the norm, yet breathtakingly unique? Something unusual but rewarding? Believe me, every one of us DID something peculiar compared to 2014. Whether Commendable, Confusing or Complicated. Something did happened that has shifted our mindset! It’s called the Go, Get it done dictum!

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RCCG LSMC Total Woman Conference – April 2015

For me, I couldn’t have ended 2015 well without thanking God for all the beautiful spaces and platform of opportunities that were created for me! From the initiation and launching of the NGOs to the acceptance into doctoral school!

The powerful ministration at the Total Woman Conference, my wonderful superb sisters-united power team! The eye opener at the much awaited residency program in AZ! The long summer nights at the beach with family! The crab feast at the Inner harbor, the once in a lifetime impact and blessings received from Kenya during the QEG Summit!

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Queen Esther Generation Summit in Kenya. JUNE- JULY 2015

The joy of embracing new dreams and walking away from past distractions, standing tall to establish self in career! The “shut-the-front-door” kind of feelings you get when you decide to stand tall, no matter what! The mind-blowing and oh-so-humble experience of connecting with relevant links  in Nigeria, the magnitude of the support system.

OMG! My beautiful team members in Lagos still expanding, making headlines and treading on a just cause for humanity! PRICELESS.  Oh! What a night! @ Etim Inyang Crescent, V/Island with WAZOBIA Naija FM Spectacular midnight host of Love Clinic, Kbabalovedoctor. Awesome!

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WAZOBIA FM Lagos, Love Clinic Host, KBABALOVEDOCTOR. OCT 2015

 

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“My Life after Cancer” Interview with 60 Minutes TV, Lagos. Oct 2015.

Aha! The courageous families in whose

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Autism Awareness In Nigeria – Interview with TREK MAG. in Lagos. Sept 2015

presence, participation and position completed my GO GET IT DONE project in Nigeria. My first humanitarian award team, Thank you! For every support system unintentionally not mentioned. Thank you.Literally, this is for everyone who’s touched my heart in 2015, either paraded it, nursed it, comforted it, cared for it, scribbled on it or skipped it or even attempted to torture it! Thank you.

 

My Greater Than Cancer team in the US! Thank you for your support and your genuine love, for dragging yourselves out to walk with me that very cold Saturday morning in Oct! You guys rock and made a survivor feel so special to be alive. Love you all for real!

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Team: Greater Than Cancer, USA

I am grateful for new friendships defined, old ones restored and damaging ones put aside for remission. For all the projects left hanging but never forgotten, the best is yet to come.

Finally, let’s search our conscience in the remaining hours, ‘what walk awayhas 2015 done for you, lately? What is that beautiful memory you want to frame and adorn with praises? Or what’s that situation that looks like progress in the making but really behind closed doors, brings you to tears? What’s that addiction or craving you are still abhorring? What’s that one word you’ve been dreading to say? ‘Afraid of going into 2016? What’s that one brutal feeling of rejection, emptiness, hopelessness and depression you’d rather bury with 2015? Marital issues? Complicated relationships? Estranged Family members? Mr. Right still hiding? Health problems? Kids acting up? Conception not cooperating? Loved ones departure? ‘Got baggage? Got issues? ‘Got trust problem? ‘Got heart break? ‘Got love to give? Aha! ‘Got Christ? You do? ‘Then you already ‘Got this! 🙂

This is the best time to get up and get it done. Whatever it is that’s holding you back from your aspiration, ‘deal with it now. This is not even about making resolutions. This is more of a period of revelation.

I am hoping someone reading this will tap into that realm too. Set up inward realistic goals, and let your passion for success be your drive for the New Year. ‘Cos, that’s what am doing. Thank y’all for a rewarding 2015!  See you in a ‘Doing IT RIGHT 2016! by God’s grace.

Yours in HOPE as I share “Keep On Moving” by Soul II Soul.

Yinka.

 

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Set me free from my prison that I might praise your name: CANCER AWARENESS MONTH.

A young vibrant guy who conducted an interview with me on Cancer Awareness stepped back, arms bigger than cancerakimbo, with an exaggerated comical look and blotted out “No Way Ma! ah,’You are too young and fine to have cancer! How can? Oh please be serious! – Oh yes! I smiled back at him. “Forget the stage make up, the girlish attitude and the glamorous accessories you see, “Yeah! ‘This girl is a survivor” and for the next 5 minutes, everything became still and silent, we became deep in thoughts, hands clutched together like a praying mantis as he began praising God.20141018_104043

October is national breast cancer awareness month. It is one of those months that challenges me to sit up and be proactive in the campaign for raising awareness about the importance of early detection and treatment. Not necessarily because I am a cancer survivor, but more so, it is a season for me to reflect on the peaceful acceptance of finally stepping away from my confinement.

When we hear the word “PRISON or CONFINEMENT”, many times we get cold feet, we tremble and begin to panic. Our imagination begins to run wild and far, flashes of hardened looking incarcerated criminals in jumpsuits, locked up behind metal bars, dangling and clanging of handcuffs, organized and monitored scheduled visits with restrictions as prison security officers stand by with un-assuming looks tough enough to crush a wandering cockroach! But, that’s just the physical aspect of the lockup, and with time upon release or admonishment life goes on.

But really, our emotional state of mind (feelings) is actually one of the most dangerous and poisonous prison we have created for ourselves, without even knowing. It is our man-made confinement. An habitual lockup. A casual second skin jail. A renowned penitentiary that usually needs no administrative admittance. We casually stroll in and out of it without realizing it or knowing the damages it’s capable of. Hmmm.can 3

There are many emotions that cause us to slump and become crippled emotionally. Worry wears us down. Regret ruins our confidence. Hatred hardens our hearts. Unforgiveness stains our souls. Bitterness binds our hearts. Insecurity incapacitates our capabilities.

Not knowing what our God-given purpose is or suppressing our enthusiasm or pessimism is a form of imprisonment. It is not only when we are locked up or detained physically. Being blessed with a story and not using it wisely for its purpose, is an emotional confinement. Not creating or maintaining a desired platform is a jail term. Our conscience becomes the court of law that requires no physical judge.

Are you crippled emotionally today? Do words from your past tell you “not good enough,” Procrastination and inadequacy were my two close companions. I didn’t like these two lurking shadows, but they followed me everywhere I went. Stalkers, that’s what they were. They stalked me, yelling taunts and accusations that no one heard but me. The more I listened to them, the more emotionally crippled I became. Until I re-branded my passion by turning my pain into someone’s gain. walk instead

Are we aware that there is a message for us all during our time of confinement? To be able to declare God’s goodness in our lives. That we are indeed a living testimony irrespective of our past, our shame or our dirt!

As you are reading this today, Ask yourself, what is my prison? Is there something in my life that is crippling my spirit? Pain? Unforgiveness? Bitterness? Resentment? Guilt? Sorrow? Worry? Regret? Comparison? If so, let’s cut it loose with the saber of praise, cast it off, and throw it away. God calls us sheep; and sheep are not pack animals. We are not meant to carry such burdens with these scrawny legs of ours. If we try, we will only bend under the pressure we were never meant to bear.woman

Get out of your confinement and join me this weekend, as we prepare for the annual MAKING STRIDES FOR CANCER AWARENESS 4k WALK ON Saturday, October 17TH @ 7:30AM, right in front of the PLEASE TOUCH MUSEUM, MEMORIAL HALL, in PHILADELPHIA PA. No more slumping in self-doubt or hunching in half-hearted conviction. But rather LET’S stand up to the full stature of a confident being, equipped by God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and enveloped in Christ.

Yours in HOPE as I share Mary Mary ” Shackles”.

Yinka.

“Set me free from my prison that I might praise your name’ (Psalm 142:7a NIV).

 

 

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Branding our optimism: Standing up straight and tall. PART ONE.

When I was a teenager, my mother used to threaten me whenever I hunched over at the dining table. “If you don’t sit up and finish up your food,’ she’d say, ‘I’m going to have to buy you a therapeutic back brace from Bola Chemist.” Honestly, I don’t even know if Bola Chemist make or sell back braces back then, but it sounded like a pretty good threat to me. Just the thought of passing through St Nicholas hospital or General Hospital all next door to Bola Chemist gave me nightmares! So I decided to cultivate a habit of always sitting up straight even when my mother’s prying eyes are not following me. And it worked out well, even until now as I’ve had to deal with some of life’s deep slumping experiences. And still ongoing.lag 3

So, I recently just returned from one of the greatest and fulfilling trips of my life! I was very blessed for encountering such beautiful and dedicated people back in Nigeria who deeply shared my passion for creating and making success stories happen. Not because the society requests it for status quo or cheap publicity, but because their love for humanity and community service is genuine.

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Talking about CANCER AWARENESS.

I’d learnt that carrying a banner to display a passion is not the same as connecting one-on-one with real life people, dealing with real life issues. Sometimes, creating a platform of awareness for our passion or a desired cause goes beyond media or social network. Connecting with the soul-carrier is deeper.

For the great opportunity given to me by Samson @TREK magazine who met with me at my parent’s house on the Island for the one-on-one interview on AUTISM AWARENESS IN NIGERIA and my proposal on establishing a support group/Autism school in Lagos. I am very grateful! For connecting me with various NGOs and Healthcare Administrators in Lagos. Thank you.

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ON AIR with KBABALOVEDOCTOR of WAZOBIA 95.1 FM, Lagos.

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With K Baba, Host of WAZOBIA FM’S “Love Clinic”

My midnight ON AIR radio show host connector! Ogunleke Kayode Clement aka. KBABA THE LOVE DOCTOR of  WAZOBIA 95.1 FM on Etim Inyang Street, V/Island. DR. Love! I hail! I salute! I am so thrilled and still excited about our ON AIR show. Thanks for giving me the platform to discuss more on #Moving Forward With Yinka! For giving me the opportunity to be your special guest on ‘Love Issues – relationships and marriage segments. Thanks for allowing me to be part of the panel for taking on calls from concerned and confused callers who needed help pertaining their love lives! Thanks for embracing my optimism on CANCER AWARENESS in Nigeria and allowing me to talk ON AIR to numerous wa 6listeners all over the world about my own personal journey as a 5year-cancer survivor. Oops! (Thanks for bringing out the best Pidgin English in me! Lol). You are truly appreciated. God bless you plenty my broda! – “As u don do for me dis good so! Na only better go dey come ya way o! (Lol).

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Autism Awareness Interview with Olori 60 Minutes TV in Lagos.

Special thanks to my team at 60 Minutes TV, Lagos! Olori 60 minutes! My PA and favorite niece! My personal graphics and studio manager, LeeGrapher! And everyone at 60 minutes TV. For the interview on Autism Awareness and support group in Nigeria, for connecting me with all the different families dealing with the challenges that come with caring for a special needs child in Nigeria. For every family who showed up and have embracedlag 4 the need for Autism awareness, and were more interested in finding a common ground for intervention! Because of you all, my journey to Lagos was successful! I pray that God continues to strengthen you all, emotionally and physically.

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FGGC Sagamu class of 1990 reunion @ Lekki.

A girly-shout out to my Almer Mater, Federal Government Girls College Sagamu class of ’90, for organizing a reunion luncheon at Lekki on OCT 1st! Love you all great shagamites! So good to see/hear from you all. Special thanks to Oby Ejekam-Ekekwe for creating what’s App Class of 1990 “P” Girls chat room! Babes, even after 25 years! You all still look smashing in your 40s! God’s hands’ is surely on us.

So, if you are reading this, ask yourself, what does it take to stand up straight and tall in your life? What is it that hinders my growth? Am I failing to thrive? Do I know my purpose for life? How can I package my idealism or confidence? Talk to me! Hmmm…

To be continued next week…

Yours in HOPE

Yinka.

 

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‘Why Am I making STRIDES for a cause?

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2010 Susan G Komen Cancer Awareness Walk – Philadelphia Art Museum.

Recently, my older daughter has been so excited since I announced that she was allowed to express her creative side by making her own poster and banner to display her support for awareness and also celebrate survivorship during the upcoming Annual Breast Cancer walk.

This will be my 4th year participating in the cancer awareness walk, which means it is now an accepted period where I get to drag my entire family with me. Come rain or shine! So by now, I’d figured they were used to it and are immune to community-based activities. Well, till now…Hmm!

So, to my utmost surprise the other day, my 8-year-old-son asked ‘Mommy, why do you walk? You don’t have cancer anymore! It was like a light bulb flickered on in my head! I needed to get my facts right to be able to convince and inspire this young man so he can continue to carry the torch of selflessness in service and spirit of humanitarianism, even when I am long gone…

I looked at him, went down to his level and held his hands “I walk and raise money because I believe that I am supporting an organization that helped save your mom because of their awareness campaign, commitment to fund community education and early diagnosis.

I walk because I have encountered the success of early detection, I walk because I have been on both receiving ends of a diagnosis.

I walk because I feel the pain a family goes through when they are informed about a diagnosis of cancer. I will continue to walk to honor and fight for the people who have died from cancer, or un-aware of how to go about receiving treatment, I will continue to walk to support cancer awareness, treatment and research.

During the WALK, hidden away from everyone around me, I usually get all teary but inspired by the end of the line, I get to meet over 1000 people cheering me on and I get to feel like a celebrity. Awesome!! As I walk through the finish line wearing my survivor medal (which my daughter made for me). Random people hug me, but most importantly – the finish line symbolizes a closure to pain and the beginning of a new life which is my contribution to getting closer to abolishing cancer – in all its forms.

As we get closer to the WALK day, I pray someone will seize the opportunity to find a reason to put everything on hold and join the WALK to support and raise a platform of awareness. To WALK not for recognition and not to make light of the disease, the struggle, or the loss. But to celebrate life and have people express their joy in surviving and living.

And as we all come together to WALK, let’s have in mind that we are making a HUGE difference in the one way we can. In the end, we feel like one community that is doing something extra ordinary. The experience of seeing the survivors walk into the closing ceremonies and the power and strength of those people is a life-altering moment and I feel blessed to be able to be a part of it – every year.

Yinka

Written for: American Cancer Society.

Written for: TUMBLR Book Club – ‘Real Life Conversation with Yinka.

 

 

 

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Any plans for October? Anything Special? Here’s an open invitation into mine!

womanOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a chance to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Make a difference! Spread the word about mammograms and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved.

This is the month where I get super-empowered to win the cause, where I get to talk-non-stop about CANCER AWARENESS, pressure and maybe annoy some friends and colleagues with more emails and articles about early detection, a month where I get to show off all the friends I made during treatment, wear Pink like it’s the new white! ‘Remember those we lost, who couldn’t win the race but whose legacies lives on and inspires us, a month where I get to celebrate and HUG so many people at the finish line! Probably the month where I get to say more of “Yes! I am a conqueror! Only by God’s mercy!

But before then, I know we’ve all had one of those days when nothing seems to be going right. You have a bad toothache, lost a button on your way to work, bump your head, struggled with that zipper again! The ‘R’ key on your keyboard is not cooperating. The car will not start, One-hour drive takes two. A missed call from the school nurse, you and your spouse can’t seem to agree on that issue. The kids can’t seem to stop screaming. The day becomes a series of small annoyances that get under your skin. Or maybe you’re struggling with a deeper pain, a more stubborn stressor. Maybe you’ve recently experienced a difficult loss. Whatever the reason, you may want a break away from that negative feelings and bask in a brighter day. Flip the coin over, you are still blessed!

Probably what you need is an encounter with people whose morning is usually a dreadful ride to the hospital, for another round of Chemo treatment, another session of Biopsy, another period of Infusion – this is nothing compared to the annoying printer at work!

Sometime ago, at Abramson Cancer center, next to me sat a middle-aged lady who was receiving IV treatment and deep in thoughts, I don’t think she even noticed my presence. One of the oncology nurses walked over, nodded in my direction and gave us both extra pillows. With my questioning look, she urged me to go ahead and engage her if I wanted.

Every time I tried looking her way to start a conversation she will quickly look away with a disgruntled sign. I began to feel uncomfortable. About 30 minutes into our IV treatment, she looked my way and said “Honey, tell me, how do you feel when people look at you and feel sorry for you? Or when they call you hurtful names? Like…Baldy? You know…’cos am losing my hair gradually!

Ah! My heart melted, wasn’t sure if I was happy she was making conversation with me or just because I needed someone to talk to. I stretched as far as my wired-up iron IV could take me, grabbed her in my arms and held on to her for as long as I could remember. The embrace was warm, cordial and spoke volume. I looked her up in the face, using a calm tone, “Honey, it doesn’t matter – I’ve been called different names too especially behind me. Names like… “Dying Woman” “Sick lady” but guess what? ‘Am still living and looking great!

But really, I said, looking down at the gorgeously crafted emerald-green diamond ring she has on her feeble finger, I tilted her face up and said “Sweetheart, even God knows you will eventually be bald someday, that’s why He made you a “drop-dead-gorgeous-baldy! Especially with this ring you have on! ‘You sure are one parade of envy and beauty to behold! That line made the blood rush from her neck to her face, she swallowed quick and hard, which gave way to reveal the cutest dimples ever! “Really? She asked… I grabbed my bag, pulled out my small compact mirror and shoved it at her face… ‘Here look inside…you are wonderfully created by God! That moment, the spell broke! The floral bandana covering her head came tumbling down!

We became children again. We giggled and laughed so hard we started shedding tears. Tears of ‘Thank-God-you-feel-me” and not “feel-sorry-for-me” joy. The nurses came around, with questioning looks and amazement and of course that silly scene earned us extra free hospital-pack graham crackers and cranberry juice!

So, we all face difficult times that make us want to shelter our hearts. When people we love hurt us, it is a natural reaction to want to shield ourselves, and put protection around our hearts, to keep pain from entering. A shut down heart makes it impossible to open up and allow in happiness, great opportunities, and good people. However, when we open our heart, we have room for growth, forgiveness, and change. Most of all, we can let love in, again. To open our heart to someone means exposing the scars of the past. When pure sincerity forms within, it is outwardly realized in other people’s hearts.

This month, I am hoping that someone will humbly give genuine and unconditional love. To make this month a memorable one by reaching out to a just cause and be proactive. Like my dear friend “Ms. Baldy” who even during her chemo treatment was still able to open up and love again. I am so looking forward to seeing her at the upcoming walk – where I can HUG her again and remind her about how beautiful she’s still looking, bald or not. She’s a living testimony to connect with. Do something extra ordinary this month, Encourage someone with sincere humor, Support a just cause! Donate, Advocate, or Walk with me during the 2014 Making Strides for Breast Cancer awareness on OCT 18th.

Yours in Hope…

Yinka.

http://main.acsevents.org/goto/yinkalawrence

 

 

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