On Mom’s day, she’ll walk for a cure

Can­cer sur­viv­or and Can­cer Treat­ment Cen­ters of Amer­ica se­cur­ity guard Venus Dav­is is very ex­cited to par­ti­cip­ate in the Susan G. Ko­men race, Tues­day, May 8, 2012, Phil­adelphia, Pa. (Maria Pouch­nikova)

Venus Dav­is was driv­ing to her job at Ve­r­i­zon back in 2000 when she felt a pain in her back.

Be­ing three months preg­nant and hav­ing suffered a pre­vi­ous mis­car­riage, she didn’t take any chances.

Dav­is went to a hos­pit­al emer­gency room, then two days later to her ob­stet­ri­cian/gyneco­lo­gist. She was told of a pos­sible uter­ine can­cer dia­gnos­is and ad­vised to end her preg­nancy.

“I said no,” she re­called. “That wasn’t an op­tion for me. I’m sorry. You’re not my God. If he wants her, he’ll take her.”

Dav­is, then liv­ing in Vir­gin­ia, spent the fi­nal six months of her preg­nancy on bed rest. She had little pain and didn’t have to un­der­go chemo­ther­apy or ra­di­ation. She even­tu­ally gave birth to a healthy girl named Des­tiny.

The new moth­er was in for a sur­prise. She learned she still had a can­cer­ous tu­mor in her uter­us.

“They said, ‘Do you want to do the tu­mor now or do you want to come back?’” she re­membered hos­pit­al staff ask­ing her. “That’s how I found out. I wasn’t told un­til after the birth. It was the weird­est thing ever.”

So, 90 minutes after giv­ing birth, she was on the op­er­at­ing table, hav­ing the tu­mor re­moved.

Fast for­ward to 2012, and the month of May is an ex­cit­ing one for Dav­is. Des­tiny, a fifth-grader at Evan­gel Chris­ti­an Academy in Vir­gin­ia, will turn 11 on Tues­day.

On Fri­day, Dav­is will serve as an es­cort at CTCA’s an­nu­al Cel­eb­rate Life event, when 54 five-year can­cer sur­viv­ors will be honored.

And next Sunday, May 20, will mark Dav­is’ 11-year an­niversary in re­mis­sion.

“I’m so ex­cited. It’s very, very ex­cit­ing,” she said.

Also, Dav­is will cel­eb­rate Moth­er’s Day this year by join­ing more than 100 fel­low em­ploy­ees of Can­cer Treat­ment Cen­ters of Amer­ica at the 22nd an­nu­al Susan G. Ko­men Phil­adelphia Race for the Cure.

Dav­is, 40, of Wyn­nefield, has been a se­cur­ity of­ficer for the last six months at CTCA, loc­ated at 1331 E. Wyom­ing Ave.

The can­cer cen­ter has been in­volved with the Ko­men event for the last three years, and this year is serving as the “Cham­pi­on Spon­sor of the Prom­ise.” As a prime spon­sor, the cen­ter provides money, race-day vo­lun­teers and year-round breast can­cer pro­grams.

Sunday’s weath­er is ex­pec­ted to be beau­ti­ful, and an es­tim­ated 125,000 people will des­cend on Eakins Oval and the peri­met­er of the Phil­adelphia Mu­seum of Art.

Par­ti­cipants can choose a 5K run or walk or a one-mile fun walk. New this year is the United Health­care Dash to Make a Dif­fer­ence for youths ages 3 to 12.

The CTCA team will meet at the hos­pit­al at 5:30 a.m. for a con­tin­ent­al break­fast, then take a bus to par­ti­cip­ate in open­ing ce­re­mon­ies at 7 a.m. Mem­bers will be re­cog­niz­able in their lime green T-shirts.

In ad­di­tion to the run and walk, one of the day’s high­lights will be some 6,000 breast can­cer sur­viv­ors walk­ing down the art mu­seum’s steps.

CTCA will have a 1970s-themed tent titled the Soul of Phil­adelphia. It will in­clude afro wigs and a disco ball, along with hope-filled stor­ies of breast can­cer sur­viv­ors.

Dav­is will walk, not run. She’s re­cruited her sis­ters, Nicole Mas­sey and Kar­en Wright, and a couple of col­leagues to par­ti­cip­ate.

Heath­er Greaves, of the can­cer cen­ter’s mar­ket­ing de­part­ment, is the team cap­tain. More than 1,000 teams will take part.

“I’m ex­cited to be part of the race,” Dav­is said. “It’s go­ing to be an awe­some ex­per­i­ence. Hope­fully, I’ll have an op­por­tun­ity to meet people, talk to them and en­cour­age them to come to our tent.”

Pro­ceeds from the event will be ear­marked by Ko­men for mam­mo­grams and breast can­cer re­search and early-de­tec­tion ef­forts.

Ko­men is the na­tion’s largest private fun­der of the fight against breast can­cer. The Phil­adelphia af­fil­i­ate con­sists of the city, sub­urbs, six oth­er Pennsylvania counties, all of Delaware and Cam­den County, N.J.

Dav­is comes from a fam­ily with a long his­tory of can­cer. Her Aunt Pooch­ie also had uter­ine can­cer. Three aunts and a grand­moth­er had breast can­cer. Three uncles and a cous­in had oth­er forms of the dis­ease.

These days, she gets checked at CTCA every six months.

“I’m a big ad­voc­ate of early de­tec­tion now,” she said.

Dav­is is look­ing for­ward to con­tinu­ing her lead­er­ship po­s­i­tion with CTCA’s Ko­men team.

“We do a lot here,” she said. “From the day of the race on to next year, we’ll have more time to build our team.”

For more in­form­a­tion on the Susan G. Ko­men Phil­adelphia Race for the Cure, call 215-238-8900 or vis­it www.race.ko­men­phil­adelphia.org

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­ing@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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