How you felt when you heard: I was blown away. Tamika was 25 and I just couldn’t believe it. We weren’t in contact at the time and I just called to check on her and I found out she had surgery. I felt bad that I didn’t check on her sooner. It crushed me.
What you did to support her: At the time, I would call and find out what she needed. I just wanted to help in any way that I could. She was lucky to have her family there.
What was most difficult for you: Trying to process how she would deal with this professionally. Tamika always had a crazy hectic work ethic and I could tell that cancer really slowed her down. I knew her goals and didn’t know how this would really impact her. I felt really bad for her. I wish this didn’t happen to her (or anyone). She’s such a good person and so giving, so it was very hard for me to accept.
How others can help loved ones go through a diagnosis: Be there for them spiritually and mentally but also give them their space. It’s okay if you don’t know what to do, but you have to rise up and help that person – especially strong-willed people who won’t ask for help.
What you learned about your loved one: I’ve never known anyone who has survived cancer for such a long period of time. I knew she was a strong lady, but man, she is the strongest woman I know. She is the epitome of a Cervivor and I’m so proud of her and love her for everything that she is doing.