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Meet The ‘Full-Time Grandmother’ in Birmingham And Her Battle Against Breast Cancer

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Benette Eason, right, hugs friend Cynthia Morton during the 11th Annual Sistah Strut Cancer Walk at Legion Field in Birmingham on Sept. 24, 2022. (Joe Songer, For The Birmingham Times)

By Nicole Daniel

The Birmingham Times

Benette Eason, a U.S. Air Force medical technician, is used to helping others with medical emergencies—then, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019.

“I was thinking, ‘I’ve helped others deal with stuff like this, but it’s about me this time.’ It was so scary. I buried my head in the sand because I just didn’t want to face it at first,” said the 54-year-old from Hueytown, Alabama, who considers herself a “full-time grandmother” to grandsons, Dallas and Austin.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States after skin cancer.

Eason was among hundreds at Legion Field on September 24 participating in the 11th Annual BBBB Sistah Strut, which has become a staple of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the Magic City.

BBBB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting people with breast cancer, as well as providing education and promoting early detection of breast cancer in minority, low-income, and underserved communities.

Eason, who still has some active cancer cells, recalls not wanting to leave her children and grandchildren. But when she first experienced Sistah Strut in 2021, she came away with “hope.”

“I got to see those women thriving, striving, and having a good time. Even if it’s just for a brief moment, that’s a wonderful feeling,” she said. “While I walked, I heard the stories of so many different women—14-year survivors, 12-year survivors, even that sister that just had surgery maybe three or four months ago. They all were out there together.”

When one of Eason’s close friends, Leslie Williams, learned about Eason’s diagnosis, she didn’t know how to approach Eason or what words to say, so Williams found an organization for Eason to join called “Sisters CanCervive.”

“[Williams] would call to pray with me, talk with me. She educated me about being in the fight,” said Eason. “It was really me being in the ring.”

Brenda’s Brown Bosom Buddies (BBBB) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting people with breast cancer, as well as providing education and promoting early detection of breast cancer in minority, low-income, and underserved communities. To learn more about BBBB, visit brendasbrownbosombuddies.org