The Fort Lauderdale native received treatment and was told she was cancer free but the disease returned in summer 2008 while she was teaching high school English.
“I was at a point where I had so many doctors’ appointments, because the cancer was so bad, that I couldn’t work and my parents were paying all of my bills and buying all of my medicine,” the mother of two said in a recent interview.
“With all that was going on and having two kids to take care of, things were difficult,” she said.
At one point, doctors recommended Smith for hospice but she saw that as giving up. After learning about Woman 2 Woman, she reached out for assistance.
Jacqueline and Kevin Gray of Plantation founded Woman 2 Woman in 2007 after Jacqueline was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I love the Grays. They have been there for me, to inspire and assist me throughout this journey. I admire them so much and thank God for them and what they are doing with Woman 2 Woman,” Smith said.
Although the cancer has spread to many of her vital organs, including her brain, Smith said her faith in God and support from her parents, the Grays and others, motivate her to hold on to hope.
“God is awesome! I have faith in Him and am still waiting on my healing. I encourage anyone who is battling this disease not to give up, to keep fighting and to trust God,” she said.
Smith had a chance to tell her story to more than 100 guests at the Woman 2 Woman Breast Cancer Foundation’s annual Pink Diamond Ball & Silent Auction, held April 9 at Fort Lauderdale’s Westin Beach Resort & Spa.
Smith and five other breast cancer survivors made a walk of triumph through the ballroom decorated in pink.
Award-winning celebrities including actors Hill Harper and Chris spencer, NBC6’s Trina Robinson and gospel singer Yolanda Adams loaned their star power to the night.
Harper and Robinson served as the evening’s hosts, Spencer conducted an auction as part of the evening’s activities and Adams gave stirring renditions of Never Give Up and I Believe I Can Fly.
“I’m pleased to be here to support this cause because breast cancer doesn’t just affect women. As a male, I’m proud to know that both genders have come together standing here strong to support each other,” Harper said.
After her diagnosis and losing her sister to the disease, Jacqueline Gray decided instead of allowing herself to be overcome by self-pity, she would do something to help others facing the same plight.
“Everyone has an outlet and a way to deal with things. Starting Woman 2 Woman was mine,” Gray said in an interview at the ball.
The foundation’s mission is to work with women from all economic backgrounds, promoting breast cancer awareness and providing needed support.
“It is so important that women have a support system while they are going through any significant illness because it helps us cope better, really prolongs your life and helps you to fight better. I know because I’m speaking from experience,” Gray said.
One of the primary goals is to ensure through information, early detection and support that no woman will face breast cancer alone.
For more information about Woman 2 Woman, call 1-800-766-0135 or visit www.w2wbcf.org