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Despite Scary Diagnosis, Never Give Cancer the Power




Having “conquered” cancer twice rather than being a survivor of cancer speaks to the power of Annetta Grady’s battle with breast cancer, twice.

“I used to hate the color pink, now I host ‘Pink Parties’ and raise money for the Faith Fancher Foundation at Kaiser, Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center at Summit and the Woman’s Resource Breast Cancer Center,” said Grady, who was raised in Berkeley and is now a resident of Richmond.

Faith Fancher (1950-2003) was a television journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area who shared her breast cancer journey with her viewers as a way to teach others the benefit of early detection.

Before she died, she established the Faith Fancher Breast Cancer Emergency Fund at the Women’s Cancer Resource Center. This fund provides direct, emergency financial assistance for low-income men and women in treatment for breast cancer in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties in California.

The Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center in Oakland is a place to find a supportive, positive environment totally dedicated to comprehensive breast health and treatment of breast disease.

The Women’s Cancer Resource Center in Berkeley creates opportunities for women with cancer to improve their quality of life through education, supportive services, and practical assistance.

A 65-year-old food-service worker, Grady was first diagnosed at the age of 55 and had her right breast removed.   About a decade later, cancer was discovered in the milk ducts of her left breast, so, pro-actively she had her left breast removed.

When asked by the Post to submit a picture, she asked if the Post wanted a picture of her chest, explaining, “My scars are my badge of courage.”

Grady witnessed her mom’s journey with cancer, also a survivor at age 85.  “I saw her painful path and didn’t want to go the route of chemotherapy.  Because of early detection, Grady instead took Tamoxifen, an extremely effective drug against cancer.

“After mom’s diagnosis, I took the test.  When I was first diagnosed I wasn’t afraid, I was mad, not because of the diagnosis, but because I had to cancel my trip to Spain and Morocco for a Smooth Jazz Cruise,” Grady said.

Her love of jazz began with the Grassroots Jazz Band, where her father played the piano, saxophone and flute.  Grady describes herself as a creative person who makes cards, creative art, and excels in the culinary arts.

Grady’s aunt, also diagnosed with cancer, died two years after Grady’s diagnosis.

“I never gave cancer the power.  I come from a stock of strong women, and I had a strong support system from my church and my co-workers.  I also know my favor with God played an essential part in my recovery.

“I didn’t just survive, I thrived! I told cancer, ‘You have to go’ and it did,” Grady said.