Necia Meyers has lived with cancer for 21 years, and besides her health, her biggest challenges are the cost of treatment and immediate accessibility to such centers.
“You could easily give up, the treatment itself is really hard to do,” said Meyers, who has had three types of cancer and is currently battling a fourth.
She was first diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in July 2001. She has since had attacks of ovarian and stomach cancer, and now has bone cancer.
Due to the limited treatment options on the island, Meyers, the owner of Neja Beauty Salon, has to travel to the mainland for treatment every three to six months. She told the Daily News that trips off the island affected her ability to run her salon and earn a profit to help pay for the treatment.
“Financially it’s very difficult, I have to close the business every time I go,” she said, adding that she had come to rely on financial assistance programs such as Cancer Support VI (CSVI).
The nonprofit organization provides grants to cover the medical and non-medical expenses of cancer patients in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“We don’t leave any cancer patient behind us; we are with them throughout the journey and relieve some of that burden, ”said Barb Michaud, director of Cancer Support VI.
The organization celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October with a series of fundraising events and honoring breast cancer patients and survivors.
“This is the # 1 fundraising month in the world, and we are fundraising for all cancers,” Michaud said. “100% of every dollar donated goes towards grants. “
This year, the fundraising goal is $ 200,000. Michaud said she used a “10 for 10 challenge” to find the amount. According to this formula, 10 local businesses have committed to match donors up to this amount.
To date, the community has helped CSVI raise over $ 60,000, hoping to reach $ 100,000 by Sunday.
Meanwhile, Meyers said she was grateful for CSVI’s financial support and was taking things day to day. She said focusing on healthy eating habits and staying active helped her get through her ordeal.
“Everyone’s story is different,” said the St. Thomas business owner and mother of three boys, adding that she still had hope despite her health challenges.
“The sky is the limit. I push with whatever I can,” Meyers said.
She encouraged those battling cancer to “try to connect with a social group and stay with positive people.” She also urged women to undergo regular health checkups to include a mammogram, as early detection can help save lives.
“Cancer has no limit as to when it strikes or what time it strikes,” she said.
For Corey Watkins, owner of Rock Life Crossfit, cancer awareness is a top priority. He has long supported the cause by organizing fundraising events to benefit CSVI.
“Knowing that the funds are going to stay here is really important,” said Watkins, who lost his father to cancer.
On Saturday, Watkins will host the Pink Run and Walk from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Participants will gather at Rock Life Crossfit Center before kicking off the walk / run event along Charlotte Amalie’s waterfront deck.
Watkins explained the reason he organized the fundraising event for Cancer Support VI. Is simple.
“Everyone here in the territory is affected by cancer, and this is an organization that can step in and help these people,” he said.