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Sharing a fighting spirit

Woman battling breast cancer for second time inspires others to take charge of their health with all-day seminar.

October 17, 2009|By Joyce Rudolph

Delores Burgess once gave breast cancer the one-two punch. But she’s had to put the boxing gloves back on for a second round of fighting the disease.

The Burbank resident has created the “Loving Me” Women’s Empowerment Seminar to encourage women to be more proactive with their health. The all-day seminar is Oct. 24 at the Pickwick Gardens in Burbank.

There will be lectures interspersed with interactive segments, she said, all in celebration of women and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“I celebrate women because we give, we give, we give, but there needs to come a time you need to stop and take some me time — focus, breathe, a little meditation — get re-energized,” she said.

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She will share her story of her fight with the disease and other women will talk about how long they’ve been a survivor, she said.

“It’s a fun day,” she said. “They can focus on themselves and revitalize their spirit, rediscover their dreams and re-ignite their power.”

Burgess did an empowerment seminar last spring in Chattanooga, Tenn., and two of her friends came: Vickie McGoy, who knew her in high school and Cindy Milligan, who met Burgess four years ago, she said.

“Delores is a little fireball,” she said. “She’s battled cancer twice. She’s a perfect person to do these seminars.”

Burgess has a knack for pulling people together, Milligan said.

“The one I went to in Tennessee, most people didn’t know each other .?.?.? but by the time the day was over, everybody was so willing to help the other person.”

McGoy was inspired. She started eating healthier, exercising and taking her blood pressure medicine regularly.

“Delores has always been a leader,” she said. “She encourages people. She’s passionate about what she does.”

Burgess now combines her two passions: gospel singing and giving inspirational seminars. She had been working as a gospel artist for about a year when diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, she said.

Her positive attitude in dealing with the disease became well-known and soon newly diagnosed cancer patients were calling her for support. Then requests came from churches for her to share her experience, she said.

She joined the Sisters Network Inc., a national African American breast cancer survivorship organization, and became vice president of the Atlanta affiliate, in 2004.

“Through that affiliation, I learned so much about the impact breast cancer has on black women, and that drove my passion,” she said.

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