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13th Annual Pray for the Cure May 5 By Cassaundra Powell

Breast Cancer – It forces you to take a different look at yourself. These are some of the questions I asked myself when I learned that I had breast cancer. “Will I die?” was the first question. Then followed by “Will I still be attractive, will I still be able to wear my favorite blouses and tops, will I still be able to wear those pretty bras?” 

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Breast cancer survivors Cindy Turner (L) and Rev. Linda Butler (R) participate in a responsive reading for survivors. In November 2015 Butler received the Peoria Chamber of Commerce Athena International Women Leadership Award for empowering women.

Most important was that I had a strong support system, and above all I had my faith. That’s how I was able to address those questions. You know that old saying “God won’t put anymore on you than you can bear.”  I had lost two sisters, my aunt and a cousin to breast cancer. Because of those losses, I was reminded that I had a very strong support system that included my mom, who spoke and said “We are not claiming this”, and my dad, my partner, my sisters and brothers, my pastor & first lady, several friends, my doctors, surgeon, and especially my “Prayer Warriors”.

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Cassaundra Powell, Rev. Linda Butler and other breast cancer survivors hold hands as Women of Vision sing the theme song “I Will Believe”

My most recent prayer warriors are survivors who organize the Annual Pray for the Cure. The event founder Rev. Linda Butler attributes her faith and family for her success with recovery and healing from breast cancer since May 2000. Butler used that conclusion for a pastoral care project during her chaplain residency in 2003 at BroMenn Healthcare Medical Center in Bloomington. Butler chose to follow women who were both pre-opt and post-opt for breast cancer. She received referrals from physicians and medical facilities in Peoria and Bloomington. She tracked 18 women for twelve weeks. A survey among the women revealed that their spiritual well-being greatly contributed to their perspective toward the disease and their treatment. She presented her findings to the Peoria Susan G. Komen Memorial Affiliated Board during October 2003 Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The question she asked the board was, “If we can run, shop, bike, and dine for the cure, why not pray for the cure?” The board thought it was a good idea so Butler invited other breast cancer survivors to participate on a steering committee to organize the first prayer event in May 2004. Komen is not the sponsor of Pray for the Cure, but does endorse the event. Over the past 13 years the event’s purpose has been to enhance the spiritual well-being of the breast cancer survivors in their immediate recovery and continual healing.

There is life after Breast Cancer. I know I am living proof.  If you or a loved one is battling breast cancer, come join a group of spiritual and loving people who have put on their armor through prayer and faith to do battle with this disease called breast cancer. The event features directed prayers for survivors, their family and caregivers, health care providers, support agencies and organizations. Prayers are surrounded by inspirational music. Annual participants include Women of Vision, an award-winning gospel group who composed and produced the theme song I Will Believe and Youth in Motion, a South Side Mission dance ministry for young girls. Each year new program participants are added to the hour event.

The 13th Annual Pray for a Cure will be held Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. at Salem Lutheran Church, 1700 War Memorial Drive in Peoria. The service is open to the general public.

Please join us.