Breast cancer was always a concern for Valerie Blackwell-Howard—a wife, a mother of three, and grandmother. “My mother had breast cancer when she was 38 years old, but it was a secret in our family. I believe my parents wanted to protect us, as young children, from her diagnosis,” says Valerie, whose grandmother also survived breast cancer.

Because of her family history, Valerie always made certain to schedule an annual mammogram. Then, one year in her mid-50s, her life felt so hectic that she skipped it. Some months later, while taking a shower, she found a small lump in her breast. Valerie was diagnosed with stage II, triple-negative breast cancer in early 2018.

After finishing treatment Valerie’s role shifted when her sister Deborah urged her to attend a conference in Philadelphia for women with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Inspired by the conference, Valerie became involved as a patient advocate and in 2019 received the Courage Award from the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation for her support.

As a sower goes forth to sow, Valerie has an anointing that allows her to minister to those in need of healing of the mind, body and soul. Valerie works with TOUCH to speak directly with and support newly diagnosed Black breast cancer patients.