Breast Cancer Resource Center Savannah, GA USA


Keerps of the Flame

Keepers of the Flame’s Mission:
To shine light into the darkness, empowering women and our communities to weather breast cancer.

The Initial Spark:

At the launch of a treacherous journey and during the midst of the storm itself, a lighthouse off in the distance whispers its sweet sound of hope. Survivors on the shores ahead are beacons of brightness; their stories and experiences radiate light and remind us that we can weather our storms.  We are not alone in our fight against breast cancer, nor are we alone in our quest for a cure. Find the courage, connection, and support that you need in order to find your own figurative lighthouse… to live your best life possible, despite this disease. Together we will weather it; together we will pave the way so that each newly diagnosed woman has it even easier. The more lighthouses we see out there, the stronger the message is to women: “you are not alone.” 

About Joyce

Journey through the storm

Photographs by Mackensey Alexander.

I was diagnosed in July 2017 at the age of 36 with invasive ductile carcinoma.  It was a complete and utter surprise because (well you know the ‘ole cliché) it’d never happen to me.  I didn’t have any family history, never felt a lump, wasn’t sick, and was still years away from the recommended screenings.  I was at ‘average risk.’  As it turns out, I was lucky.  I had done genetic testing the year prior because of a family history for colon cancer.  Yet, I was negative for that gene and (surprise, surprise) positive for BRCA2.  I accidentally stumbled upon this gene. We began with increased surveillance, alternating every six months with mammograms and MRIs.  My mammogram missed it; and only an MRI done six months later finally revealed the masses.  Yep.  Plural.  I had three.  I actually had cancer…breast cancer.  In the following ten months, I endured a bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy, reconstruction, radiation, and a hysterectomy.  I’m not going to lie: it was rough!  However, I spoke with several women who had survived, who had made it to the other side of their own storms, and together they became my lighthouses in the distance.  I adopted the imagery of a lighthouse radiating its sweet sound of hope across the unruly sea, calming me, and softly whispering: “you are not alone.”  My college sorority sister, V, introduced me to Beth (a childhood friend of hers who had been recently diagnosed and was fighting alongside me).  Beth and I leaned on one another throughout our trying journeys; and in April 2018, Beth asked if I’d participate in the San Diego 3 Day with her.  We’d walk 60 miles and raise funds and awareness for breast cancer.  I shared my lighthouse imagery, created our logo and hashtag, and together we named our team and set out to pave the way for the next round of warriors.  And so, Keepers of the Flame was born.  V joined our 3-day team and so did my sister-in-law (Sarah).  Not only have we raised funds for Komen, but Keepers of the Flame decided to push forward with even more education/awareness. KotF worked with local therapists to start group classes for fighters/survivors, hosted an annual swimathon, worked with local Girl Scout troops, and partnered with local small business owners to raise funds for women in need.