Fourteen years ago my mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. It was my senior year of Nursing School at Howard University. I was devastated. I wanted to quit school and return to Chicago. My mother was my best friend and my sister. I have no sisters, but three brothers. We were tight! When I found out about her diagnosis, I thought I was going to die. I was deeply depressed and frightened for her and my future. My life flashed before me. The day after my younger brother called to tell me about my mother's diagnosis, I went to the Dean of the Howard University Nursing School to withdraw. I informed her that my mother had Breast Cancer and that I would be withdrawing from school to return home. The Dean refused to let me withdraw. In fact, she told me that I had come too far to quit school. She authorized an emergency scholarship for me to buy a plane ticket to Chicago. Her stipulation was that it was a round trip ticket and that I would return to school once I met with my mom's doctors.
I arrived in Chicago the next day and met with my mother's medical team. My mother was diagnosed at the latest stage of Breast Cancer. Her prognosis was 4 years. After hearing her prognosis, I definitely did not want to return to school, but I made a promise to the dean and I had to use the other half of my ticket.
Upon my return to Howard, I again tried to withdraw from school. The dean was emphatic about my completion of the nursing program. In fact, she committed to mentoring me for the rest of the school year. There were three women who nurtured me and mentored me during my senior year at Howard University. Those three women were: Dr. Carolyn Jackson, the assistant dean of the nursing school; Dr. Eva Stephens, one of my professors, and Debra Lynch, a healthcare administrator at the private practice that I interned with. I know without a shadow of doubt that I would not have graduated without their love and support. They invested their TIME, TALENT and TREASURE in me.
I am asking that you spread the word about Joanie Girl’s Heart! Share with family, colleagues, and friends! Get involved! Your generosity will help make a positive difference in the lives of our future leaders and the community overall. Thank you again for your support. Sincerely,