PINE BLUFF, Ark. – The Delta Eta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff observed National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by honoring one of their own.
Instead of putting on a program, the chapter decided to do things differently this year. They surprised Mrs. Virgirean Owens (Fiscal Support Analyst/Accounts Payable,
Controller’s Office – UAPB) with six red roses and six pink balloons representing each year she has survived breast cancer.
“We wanted to surprise a soror that worked on the campus and show her how much we love her,” Stated Sanetra Sloan, chairperson of the program and planning committee.
Mrs. Owens was so appreciative as she cried and thanked each one of her sorority sisters – Bonita Corbin, Primary Advisor; Dana Mooney, and President Charlene Kelley of the Pine Bluff Alumnae chapter.
Owens’ battle with breast cancer started when she had a mammogram in November 2005 that rendered abnormal results and resulted in a biopsy in January 2006.
“The Physician did not have good bedside manners and told my daughter and son that I had cancer when I was in recovery. The conference I had with the physician was devastating. I left that office in tears, went back to work and just broke down.”
Her soror Jimmie Le’Nee Jones (now a 5 year survivor) told her to call Dr. Josetta Wilkins (also a Soror) who led the fight against breast cancer in the Arkansas Legislature. Her tireless efforts for this cause led to the Legislature passing the Breast Cancer Act of 1997.
Owens called Dr. Wilkins on a Thursday and she set up an appointment for her to go to UAMS the next Monday.
“The Doctors and Nurses were so compassionate, caring and knowledgeable. I felt good to get a second opinion and to know that my cancer was in stage one – early detection.”
Owens chose to have a mastectomy and have 12 lymphoids removed instead of the recommended Lumpectomy. She has never had chemo or radiation and also participated in a five year study taking Arimidex that aided in her recovery.
“God is so good,” said Owens. “I have been cancer free for 6 years 8 months. I really appreciate their concern for me and ask that you continue to pray for all survivors.”