Atlanta, GA (CBS46) October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and about 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer.
Army veteran Wilma Raines, 59, may have trained for war. But she didn't expect to face this battle.
“I did a lot of work for the city of Atlanta and a lot of work in my neighborhood,” Raines told CBS46 News. “Right now, I have stage 4 metastatic breast cancer which means it’s in my bones and in my blood.”
In January, she stopped taking chemo and radiation treatment because she says it wasn't working for her and it was burning her skin.
“Well actually, they told me that I was going to die six months ago, but I didn’t die,” said Raines.
But her struggles didn't end. She had a mastectomy, she lost her mother to alzheimers and she lost her home.
“The house was lost and I had a big hole in my chest and then these people put all my stuff out in the rain. And I was like, ‘what am I going to do now? I have no hope.”
Raines says she spent three months at the city of refuge shelter. She was alive, but had given up on life.
“I wanted to die. I really did. I wanted to die when all that happened,” Raines told CBS46. “I used to sit there at that bus stop every day and I used to say to myself that I’m going to step out in front of this bus and it was, it was like.”
But thankfully through counseling and support, things changed for her.
“When I go sleep at night, I’m still going to have cancer. When I wake up in the morning, I’m still going to have cancer. So, I choose to get up every day,” continued Raines.
Motivational speaker and life coach Natalie Fikes helped Raines choose life.
“She gave me hope. Hope that I thought I’d never have.”
Fikes is an author, motivational speaker and life coach. She says she was volunteering at City of Refuge when she met Raines.
"Selflessness is really the oxygen of life. You have to take the time to look outside of yourself and care about other people," said Fikes.
Fikes opened up her home, giving Raines a room and bed of her own.
"She took care of her mother until her last breath. You will not die in a homeless shelter. That's not what happens to people that do those type of things. Not on my watch," said Fikes.
Now, Raines shares her struggles on social media to share hope for others.
“Life means everything to me because I found my purpose,” says Raines. “People out there will hear and they will know that just because there are obstacles in your way, you don’t just quit and you don’t just give up.”
Copyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.