Faces of a Warrior: Collette Richardson

Stories of Surviving and Thriving

June 5, 2016

Age: 60
Profession: Elementary Assistant Principal
Year of Diagnosis: 2014
Number of years as a survivor: 2 years
Relationship to Susan G. Komen: Race Participant

My name is Collette and I am a breast cancer survivor. I have been a supporter of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® and women with breast cancer for many years, but I never imagined that I would be facing the fact that I had breast cancer. 

My cousin is a 17-year breast cancer survivor who often does presentations on the importance of breast self-awareness, so I continually examined myself. One year, at my annual exam I indicated to my doctor that there was an area that I suspected. After more tests, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my breast cancer journey began. 

When you’re faced with surgery, it’s a very scary experience. You don’t know if the surgery will be successful, you don’t know if your body will tolerate chemotherapy, you worry about how you will look after surgery. Will there be hair loss? Will there be pain?

I was very fortunate that it went very well for me and credit the many people in my life for supporting and seeing me through my surgery. My motto is “Team Work Makes the Dream Work” because I couldn’t have done this without my “team” of people behind me.

I continued to work throughout chemotherapy and did not experience any side effects. I was able to complete basic tasks, eat regular meals, and didn’t experience hair loss. I know that I am very blessed that I did not have side effects, so I pay it forward by trying to enlighten others. I insist that those around me get regular check-ups, work on healthier habits and maintain a positive outlook. It is my hope that the work I've done will speak for me.

Since my surgery, I make every effort to make an impact in the lives of others, to keep in touch with family and friends, dance and travel. Gone are the days, that I deprive myself of having fun. I know that I am blessed to be a “survivor” of breast cancer. And as a survivor, I enjoy life more. 

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