Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 13th 2015 Contents ERLINE ANDREWS
When TV talk show host and chef
Basia Powell was diagnosed with stage
1 breast cancer in 2009, two things
got her through the subsequent rigors
One was her faith in a higher power.
"I knew that God would heal me," she
said in a recent interview.
Another was the support and help
of her family and friends, particularly
her husband Ricardo, a former West
"I could not have done it without
that man," said Powell. "He s a blessing.
He s an absolute blessing as a husband
and a father."
Powell recalled Ricardo motivating
her to take walks. "My husband would
pull me up [Lady] Chancellor Hill. He
had me active," she said.
Her friend Gillian Caesar in a simple
but important way helped get her
"When I come back from chemo, on
the third day is when I would feel for
curry, because curry would help me get
back that flavour in my mouth," said
Powell. "[Gillian] would run away lunch
time from work and come and take me
for a roti. We used to call it our
And Powell s spirits needed picking
"I had to travel every 21 days to
chemotherapy in Miami," she recalled.
"So I d [leave] nice and dressed up, and
I d come back wiped out. They d have
to put me in a wheelchair when I came
out of the airport."
Powell said many people didn t seem
to realise the impact what they said and
did could have on someone being treated
"People, once you told them that you
were diagnosed with cancer---it was so
weird---the first thing they will tell you
is somebody they knew who died from
it," she said. "It s their first reaction,
and that is something I would like peo-
ple to stop.
"After a while I started telling people,
Can you tell me someone who sur-
vived?" she said. "There s me and there s
[singer] Marcia [Miranda] and there s
so many other people who survive it."
October is Breast Cancer Awareness
Month and Powell is helping promote
an annual initiative by Payless Shoe-
Source. The company is selling a special
pink bracelet in commemoration of the
fight against the disease, which is the
most prevalent cancer among women
"October is a month to celebrate sur-
vivors," said Powell. "Encourage more
people to think that they will survive.
A lot of people die because they feel
that they re going die."
The experience made her choose
more carefully who she spent time with.
"I would advise anybody who s going
through a diagnosis right now to clear
out all the negativity," she said. "I don t
engage in that. If you try to engage me
in negativity you have a problem."
Self-pity is a distraction, said Powell,
who is cancer free after a double mas-
tectomy and breast reconstruction.
"My message to people out there is
don t give up. Don t engage in why me .
Don t engage in how can I do this ,"
she said. "Feel the process. If you want
to cry, cry. It s human to feel pain. But
understand pain comes before growth."
Powell believed in the power of sup-
port so much that she started a support
group shortly after her diagnosis.
She s no longer involved in the group,
but part of the reason she agreed to
help with the Payless initiative is that
proceeds go towards Vitas House, a
hospice that cares for cancer patients
for whom nothing more can be done.
The hospice, which is free, provides
not only medical care, but a comfortable
and supportive environment.
"All our patients show some measure
of improvement in their wellbeing once
they come here," said Lilia Mootoo, the
general manager of Vitas House.
Members of Powell s support group
spent their last days at Vitas.
"Places like Vitas House are important
because not everyone has the kind of
family support that I have," said Powell.
"It comforts me to know that they have
somewhere like that to go."
Powell said she would extend her
message about positivity even to people
at the stage of those in the hospice.
"I believe in the power of happiness,"
she said. "At the time I was diagnosed
the mantra I developed is that happiness
heals. I don t care if you have five more
days on this earth, five years or 50. You
do your best that every day out of those
five years or 50 years you feel happi-
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
Support, positivity vital in breast
cancer fight, says famous survivor
"I believe in the power of happiness. At the time I was diagnosed the
mantra I developed is that happiness heals. I don't care if you have five
more days on this earth, five years or 50. You do your best that every
day out of those five years or 50 years you feel happiness."
In October 1975, Kiss visited a small
northern Michigan community where
the high school football team had
credited the rock band's music for its
success on the field the previous year.
Now residents in Cadillac are giving
something back to the Rock and Roll
Hall of Famers known for wearing
makeup that masks its members'
faces: a black granite monument
celebrating the 40th anniversary of
The Cadillac News and WWTV
reported that the monument was
unveiled Saturday, although members
of the band weren't able to attend. A
tribute band performed some Kiss hits
as part of the event.
The monument reads in part: "The
renowned bond between Cadillac and
Kiss endures to this day."
It also says the event on October 9,
1975, "attained worldwide acclaim as
one of the most iconic stories in rock
and roll lore."
"On that day, Kiss came to Cadillac,
and a legend was created," the
Kiss rode in the homecoming parade
and performed in the school gym. The
group ultimately departed Cadillac
from the football field in a helicopter,
showering fans with hundreds of "Kiss
Loves You" cards. (AP)
Cadillac unveils monument on 40th anniversary of Kiss visit
Basia Powell has been a source of inspiration for many cancer
sufferers and her success has been powerful for women in general.
Vitas House, the hospice run by the T&T Cancer Society is going to benefit from the Payless initiative this October.
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