In 2012, when she was eight-months pregnant with her third child, LaKeesha Murray felt a lump under her arm, but never dreamed it could be cancer. “I held off and said, I’m going to wait until my doctor’s appointment,” she recalls. At that next appointment, the doctor “rushed me across the street to see a breast doctor immediately. I didn’t think anything of it. I’d never experienced anything like that.”
Soon after LaKeesha received a telephone call from her doctor with the terrible news that she had been diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. “I didn’t remember anything from there,” she shares.
Throughout her cancer journey, LaKeesha says her children have been a constant source of encouragement and strength. But she worried about how they might be handling her diagnosis and treatment, especially after she was diagnosed with cancer again in April 2016. “Cancer affects the entire family,” she says.
In 2016, she and her family joined the Cancer Support Community in Philadelphia and found a supportive community to help them cope.
Joining a support group and taking art therapy classes offered a safe place for LaKeesha and her children to share about their emotions and feelings.
“It’s good to talk to people that are going through the same thing and get my mind off everything and do some activities here,” says her son Lamar.
LaKeesha adds,“it’s encouraging to come and talk to other parents about how cancer has affected the children and talk about our own journey and how it has affected us as parents. It felt good to come in and to talk and cry and laugh. Cancer affects the entire family, and to have everybody come here and talk, it’s an awesome place to come to.”
LaKeesha, now 41, is doing better and looking forward to going back to work. She says she tries to be happy in the moment, and take each day as it comes. She tries not to worry about the past, but rather, “I let it go and free myself from it and I learned that coming here.”