Ragina Ireland fought for her life. She was diagnosed with breast cancer nine years ago.
"I was just laying here in my family room very sick [from chemotherapy]. I just asked the Lord what did He want me to gain from the experience," said Ireland.
Ireland said at no point was her battle easy.
"I remember telling my sister. If I have to go through chemo again, then I’m not doing it. Of course now I see that totally differently," said Ireland.
In January of 2020, she hopes to celebrate 10 years being cancer free, but her battle is not over. She has chosen to fight with other women who are dealing with the disease that nearly killed her.
Ragina started a non-profit called Making Chemo Bearable.
"We make a gift item that’s a bear and it holds a booklet with side effects and how to cope with chemo therapy," Ireland said. "We also have formed a group of women who are survivors who can help other women who are getting started on the journey. You know, what do they need?"
Laverne Macon is one of the cancer warriors who found strength in Ireland’s support.
"I was diagnosed in December of 2016 with breast cancer," Macon said. "The doctor tells you all of these things, but you don’t listen. Because once they tell you that you have cancer, your mind goes to a whole new level."
Medicine cured Macon two years ago, but she said Ireland’s organization filled her heart.
"She was so loving and she was so nice. The first thing she did was come and hug you and tell you that everything is going to be OK. It takes a lot for you to stop crying. Not knowing where you’re going to go or if you are going to die, or if you’re going to make it through it and that’s what Ragina’s organization did for me. That even though this is cancer, it’s not the end of the road," Macon said.
Ireland said for her, this is about living her passion in hopes of helping others.
"When somebody calls and says something like, 'What you said to me helped me.' That is the greatest thing. You know? To have somebody say that you have helped them and it’s only because I have been on the journey that I can help," said Ireland.