BUFFALO, NY- October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so in honor of that, this week's 2 On Your Side "Good Neighbor" is a young Buffalo woman who's playing a big part in early detection and prevention "for our daughters."
Mercedes Wilson was diagnosed in 2011 with stage 2 breast cancer. She was only 28-years-old at the time, and a single mother of two young children.
"A lot of things went through my head. Who's going to be there for my children? Am I going to make it through this? It was a lot of fear," said Wilson. "Then I guess a lot of strength that came with it, because you realize that you're going to fight. I wanted to fight to be here for my children."
She won that fight by undergoing 8 rounds of chemotherapy, followed by a lumpectomy, and 45 rounds of radiation. Her experience drove her passion to help other young women.
"Breast cancer really wasn't talked about in my family. Young women, especially African-American women are dying more than anyone else because we're catching it later, but that can come with knowing our family history and talking about it," she said.
So Wilson founded the organization called "For Our Daughters." Since then she's inspired thousands of young girls through talks at local high schools, gotten them moving with Zumba, and even helped military families through partnering with the Boys and Girls Club.
The goal is to get young girls talking about their overall health, including mind, body, and soul.
"We parents think that they don't listen, and they really do. They really do want to have communication with us," she said.
Mercedes' children are now 13 and 10 years old and she also has 2-year-old twins. She balances being a busy wife and mom and leading her organization. They are constant reminders for her to count each day as a blessing.
"You get to see strength, you get to see resilience and you get to see people come together for a cause that's greater than them," said Wilson.
To honor breast cancer survivors, "For Our Daughters, Inc." will be holding it's 5th annual Gala on Saturday, October 22, 2016, at the Buffalo Convention Center. 2013 American Idol winner Candace Glover will be there to perform. WGRZ is a proud sponsor and reporter Claudine Eweing will be the MC. To find more information about the Gala or how to donate to "For Our Daughters, Inc." click here.
If you know of someone who should be featured as a 2 On Your Side "Good Neighbor," e-mail Melissa.Holmes@wgrz.com or call 716-849-2216.