Faces of a Warrior: Bertha Ross

Stories of Surviving and Thriving

June 26, 2016

Age: 76
Profession: Retired Media Specialist 
Type of Breast Cancer: Ductal Carcinoma In Situ
Year of Diagnosis 2011
Number of years as a survivor: 5 years
Relationship to Susan G. Komen: Komen Volunteer

My name is Bertha and I am a breast cancer survivor. When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I had so many unanswered questions. I had always dealt with cysts in my breasts and routinely had them removed, and so when I felt a lump in my breast I once again thought this was another instance of much ado about nothing. It was my regular routine to have a biopsy done with each cyst to rule out cancer, so I went in for my biopsy like I always did. This particular time, however, the doctor explained that breast cancer was in fact detected. I couldn’t believe it. All I kept thinking was this had to be a mistake. 

I was blessed that the lump was very small, so I had a lumpectomy followed by five days radiation. The radiation did not affect me because I had it for such a short time. I was very grateful that I did not need chemotherapy. When you’re first diagnosed, it is overwhelming. There are so many tests, so many doctors’ appointments. For a long while, I felt like the diagnoses was a death sentence. Five years later, I am in a much better place. I am also much stronger. 

When I reflect on the things in my life that kept me fighting, several come to mind. My best friend had breast cancer before me, so she became my “wing girl.” My family and other friends also kept me strong. And it was my faith in God’s healing power that kept me at peace. I needed each component to make it through this journey and remain hopeful. 

To me, being a breast cancer survivor means making more time to spend with family and friends. I cherish the time more and live more in the moment. I’m inspired to encourage other women fighting breast cancer. I do all I can to spread a message of hope because that is the one thing that characterized my journey: HOPE!

About the Faces of a Warrior Campaign

Last year, to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Race for the Cure®, Susan G. Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale teamed with 101.5 LITE FM to launch the Faces of a Warrior campaign. 

To mark the 21st Annual Race for the Cure®, Komen is spotlighting 21 survivors to represent each year the Race has run. These individuals are sharing their stories of strength and resilience -- not just of surviving breast cancer, but thriving in spite of it.

Read the stories of more Warriors here

For more information on the Faces of a Warrior campaign -- and other ways you can get involved in the Race for the Cure® -- please email info@komenmiaftl.org or call 954-909-0454