When you hear the word cancer, what comes to mind? Do you think of the people who have left you behind? How big of a fight someone must go through to overcome it? Or that it would not happen to you or someone you love.
The truth is, it takes a lot of strength, faith and a champion’s mentality to get through a battle with cancer. And make no mistake: Towanda Davis is a champion.
Eight years ago, Davis was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. She survived that fight.
Seven years later, Davis found herself battling cancer once again. This time it’s different. She now has been diagnosed with a Stage 4 gastrointestinal stromal tumor.
Yet, her continuous fight and faith to battle this disease is keeping her strong.
"Dr. Davis has great tenacity, strength, and faith of dealing with cancer in all stages. Her faith and love of helping others have caused her to soar above defeat in walking through the life of a cancer overcomer,” said Judy Mandrell, a friend of Davis.
Davis is a woman of grace with a champion’s spirit. She is the pastor of Tallahassee’s Elevate Church, the founder of El Rapha Ministries, the owner of Towanda Davis Photography and the founder of Cancer Knockout Foundation. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Jack and Jill of America and on the board of directors for the Capital City Chamber of Commerce.
Though with the reoccurrence of her sickness she is not letting this tumor get the best of her but is doing what God called her to do. “They called me ‘Champ T’ because I was fighting this disease,” Davis said. “I was positive, God is good, and I started rallying for cancer survivors, just telling my story.”
Longtime friend Priscilla Jean Louis marvels at Davis’ determination.
“Towanda and I have been friends for over 25 years. If I had to use one word to describe Towanda at this moment, it would be resilient. From her breast cancer diagnosis and win to her current opponent of a gastrointestinal stromal tumor, she exhibits the power and ability to remain consistent and stable in her footing and faith,” Louis said.
At the same time Davis was diagnosed with a Stage 4 tumor, her mother’s Stage 1 breast cancer returned and her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer — all within the same year.
“I was diagnosed July 2018,” Davis said. “It’s very surprising to me that this is not connected to my breast cancer. This one knocked the wind out of me and impacted me differently.”
But this does not stop Davis from fighting. This is simply a test of how strong her faith is and to know that she can get through this.
“This is really a test of, if you can have it God can heal it,” Davis said. “I believe it takes pretty much everything to stand by my faith.”
And with the help of God, her husband and daughter, and friends, her support system has kept her pushing.
Dianne Williams-Cox, Davis’ best friend, explained how tenacious Davis is.
“ I was with her when she started this journey of cancer. I was there from the time she was told that she had it, until the time she decided on what to do about it. And because the nature of the work that she does, she decided to fight it. And all throughout it all, she was a champ and we starting calling her ‘Champ T’ because she persevered and still is,” Williams-Cox said.