Healing Heroes: A Tribute to Breast Cancer Survivors

The Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion, WSAV will host Healing Heroes: A Tribute to Breast Cancer Survivors, a fashion show featuring breast cancer survivors from the area. Proceeds from the event will go directly to the Telfair Mammography Fund to help pay for mammograms for uninsured and underinsured women.

Want to make an additional donation to the Telfair Mammography Fund now? Simply text buddycheck to 50155.

Healing Heroes Agenda

9:30 a.m.: The Cynthia Utterbach Trio featuring Cynthia Utterbach, jazz artist-actress-writer and educator & Reggie Carson, bassist/educator, Bruce Spradley, guitarist, bassist, educator

10 a.m.: Welcome by Tina Tyus-Shaw

10:10 a.m.: Commentator Cecelia Jeffery, Lingerie Sales Business Manager, Dillard’s

10:15 a.m.: Scene I Casual

10:30 a.m.: Dr. Yana Puckett, Surgical Oncologist, St, Joseph’s/Candler

10:40 a.m.: Inspirational Dance Tribute Featuring One Spirit Dance Academy

10:50 a.m.: Tricia Shattuck, Breast Cancer Survivor

11 a.m.: Cynthia Utterbach Trio

11:10: Scene II Formal

11:25 a.m.: FINALE Escorts Ben Senger, Anchor WSAV; Edward Moody. Anchor WSAV; Tim Cabell, Cancer Survivor/Award Winning Master Hairstylist/Makeup Artist

11:40 a.m.: THANK YOU by Tina Tyus-Shaw

11:45 a.m.: Reception courtesy Ardsley Station

Meet our Breast Cancer Survivor/Supporter Models

April Leavy – I was diagnosed with Estrogen positive HER2 negative breast cancer in May 2014. All is a blur as everything moved so quickly. Within a week, I had a partial mastectomy. Our family had plans to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in Hawaii just two months later. We delayed treatment until our return. My treatment consisted of a preemptive head shaving by my family. I endured 12 rounds of chemotherapy and 33 rounds of radiation. Thankfully, I am almost 10-years in remission. However, the chemo took its toll, and in the past three years, I’ve broken both my wrists a day apart, my ankle, my foot and several teeth. However, I consider each day a blessing. Ironically, my family and I returned from Hawaii yesterday, where our oldest daughter was married. Life is good.

My favorite quote is from Bruce Springsteen, “You have to learn to live with what you can’t rise above.”

Gwen Green— My name is Gwendolyn Green. I have been a Registered Nurse for 46 years. I currently work for the Federal Government as a Utilization and Compliance Review Nurse. I also have a master’s degree in public health nutrition. I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma insitu 30 years ago, and for those 30 years, I celebrated each year being cancer free with no recurrences. Then in May of this year, after mammography and other tests, I was handed a definitive diagnosis of non-invasive ductal carcinoma insitu. I was shocked but not shaken. I kept my composure, had immense faith and the surgeries were successful. The result is cancer free once again.

An author named Atticus said: ”She was powerful not because she wasn’t scared but because she went on so strongly despite the fear.” I believe there is beauty in all things and that God has an abundance of miracles for each of us. It only takes having faith to receive the miracles. This will open the door of opportunity to help someone else; therefore, leading to impacting lives.

Favorite quote: One of my favorite quotes was said by Actress, Audrey Hepburn, “I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong, I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”

Crystal Higgins— My name is Crystal Higgins. I am a wife, mother of 2, grandmother of 3 and great-grandmother of 4, and I am also a 2-time Breast Cancer Survivor! My first journey began 2 days before Christmas in 2006. It was hard to hear that diagnosis but I made it through all my treatments and Beat Breast Cancer! My second journey began in January 2022 when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer for the second time. With the help of my husband, who was my caregiver, my daughters and numerous friends, I have made it through the treatments, and I have Beat Cancer again!!


LaTeia Parker— My name is LaTeia Parker. I have been married to Esha Parker for four years. From that marriage, I gained a bonus daughter Imani who is 13 years old, and I recently had a beautiful baby girl, Jynesis who is 6 months. I have been an administrative coordinator with Georgia Ports Authority for a year and a half, and I am also a part-time fitness instructor at T.B. Fitness. My breast cancer journey started when I discovered a lump in my right breast during my pregnancy which my doctor believed was a clogged milk duct. As my pregnancy progressed, I continued to monitor the lump. After I gave birth to my baby, I noticed the lump was still there. My doctor instructed me to massage the area with a warm compress and if it didn’t go away, she would schedule me an ultrasound. Unfortunately, it did not go away. When the doctor told me my results, I was devastated. My mind went immediately to my daughter. All I could think of is “I don’t have time for cancer”, “I don’t have time to be sick,” “I don’t have time not to have energy,” “I have a baby girl to raise!” In addition to becoming a new mom, I am also fighting for my life to see a new life I created grow.

This journey has been overwhelming and full of surprises. However, I don’t think I could do this without my phenomenal support system. My family, friends, co-workers and even strangers have helped me in so many ways. It fills my heart with the amount of support that I have received, especially being the person that hates asking for help. No matter the battle I still am trusting the process, and I believe that I will come out of this stronger and better than ever. When my daughter gets older, I will be able to tell her the part of my story of how her mom beat cancer while learning to be a new mom.

Favorite quote: "This is just a chapter, it’s not the whole story."

Farrah Lawrence — My name is Farrah Lawrence, and I am originally from Brooklyn, NY. I am a single mom of 2 kids plus a bonus daughter (my niece) ages 27, 10 and 2. I work within the child welfare system ensuring the safety and well-being of our most vulnerable children. I have been residing in Savannah since August 2022. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast Cancer on June 22, 2022. Keeping my faith in God and using my children for my motivation, I am happy to report I am 10 months in remission. My goal is to continue to live a happy and fulfilling life while creating lifetime memories with my family and friends.

The quote that I live by: Mark 9:23: "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."

Sandy McCloud — I was diagnosed in June of 2020. I like a lot of quotes but one that is always relevant is, "It's not what happens to you, it's how you react to it that counts." I worked in the media for 20 years working in radio, 15 of them in my hometown Atlanta before moving here in 1998. I have been a Realtor/Associate Broker for the past 20 plus years, sing/play in two bands and happily live on Tybee with my husband of 40 years, my pets and the icing on the cake right across our tiny dirt road from my fabulous sister.

Favorite quote: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” — George Elliot

Christy Merritt — I am Christy Merritt from Guyton, Ga. I am an interpreter for the deaf. I have a 21-year-old daughter named Sydney, and I just got married last year. I was diagnosed with stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma four months after being married to my husband William.

My favorite quote is: “One day at a time.”

Olympia Hamilton — My name is Olympia Hamilton. I am a native of Sapelo Island, Ga. I have resided in Savannah for the past 39 years and have been married to Robert Hamilton for 37 years. We have two adult children, Narada, 30, and Athena, 25. I am employed with the SCCPSS as the Administrative Secretary for Savannah Arts Academy. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast Cancer in March 2022, a moment that would change my life forever. So when I received my diagnosis, I felt a deep sense of optimism but also an aversion to the prospect of chemotherapy. Miraculously, the team at the LCRP found a way to align my desires with medical wisdom. My oncologist recommended the Oncotype DX test —a beacon of hope during uncertainty. This test analyzed a small sample of the tumor tissue, shedding light on the likelihood of a positive response to hormone treatment, potentially sparing me from chemotherapy. Not just as a survivor of breast cancer, but as a grateful soul who has witnessed the power of divine intervention and the miracles that can unfold in the face of adversity.

Favorite quote: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

Kathy Villafane — Meet Kathy Villafane, the owner/broker of the Real Estate Resource Center of South Georgia. She is a distinguished figure in the realm of real estate, who was named the Best Realtor for six years in a row in Liberty County. Kathy is stepping onto the runway for a noble cause. She received a proclamation from the city and the county to start Paint Liberty Pink in 2019 after the loss of her sister to Breast Cancer. Paint Liberty Pink is a movement to bring awareness to the citizens within the community. When not negotiating property deals, Kathy is tirelessly dedicated to giving back to the community. With a heart as big as her expertise, she is not just selling homes; she is selling hope, dreams and a better future for those in need. Watch as Kathy struts down the runway, embodying the perfect blend of style and substance, proving that even a real estate broker can make a meaningful impact on the world, one charitable step at a time."

Favorite quote: “With God All Things Are Possible” (Matthew 19:26-5)

Victoria Allen — Victoria is from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She has four children (Trish, Ebony, Kisha and Curtis). She is the grandmother of seven grandsons (Rashawn, Deshawn, Wendell, Xzadrian, Curtis, Zavion and Caleb) and one great-granddaughter (Raleigh Victoria). She is a retired disabled Vietnam Veteran, with twenty-two years of dedicated service. She has a Master's in Addiction Counseling and hopes to finish her Doctorate degree in Behavioral Health. She is in her Dissertation phase as of now. She is the In-School-Suspension Paraprofessional at Bradwell Institute in Hinesville, Ga. Victoria recently had a second fight with cancer and had surgery on October 18, 2023. She states she is doing well. She is here today to celebrate her second victory as a Cancer Survivor. GOD has blessed her to see 68 years. If it is GOD's will, she will be 69 years on April 18, 2024.

Her favorite quote which is her own: "This Battle is not mine it’s the LORDs, and I have Victory In JESUS."

Special Thanks:

St. Joseph’s/Candler
Lewis Cancer and Research Pavilion
Dillard’s/Matt Franklin and Team
Cynthia Utterbach Trio
One Spirit Dance Academy
Ardsley Station
John Davis Florist
The Verando Experience
MG Productions
Jessica Sauls/ Jessica & Co
Hunter Commissary

Nancy N. and J.C.
Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion
225 Candler Dr.,
Savannah, GA 31405

St. Joseph's Hospital Campus 
11705 Mercy Blvd.,
Savannah, GA 31419

Candler Hospital Campus 
5353 Reynolds St.,
Savannah, GA 31405