Back in August, I received a phone call from a former teacher asking me to be the Mistress of Ceremony at a breast cancer awareness breakfast fundraiser she was organizing in honor of her mom this month. I said yes. Weeks went by but I never heard back from her. I found out the day before her funeral, Delores Sanders passed away. During our conversation, she never told me she was sick. She only focused on raising money for breast cancer patients and encouraging others. Now her sisters are picking up the torch and are turning their mourning into a mission.
Family gatherings are usually a joyful time for the Drayton family, but this one is different. Delores Sanders, a beloved educator and oldest sister, lost her battle with uterine cancer in September. Her sister Velma Ray says, “Delores was diagnosed in 2014 with stage four cancer. It recurred the month of May and it was very aggressive at that time.”
Despite her illness and pain, Delores remained focused and determined to help others. Her sister Sheron Burns says, “My sister was a caring giving person. Even the day she passed away, we just found out she was an organ donor. She was willing to go over and beyond to help someone. When the doctors came and said she was an organ donor, I just couldn’t believe it because she never said anything to us.” Her eyes were donated. Burns say, “She left a little part of her back here for someone else. All of that time she was still upbeat, so she was still upbeat, that’s all I can say. She was still strong.”
The family’s matriarch, Mrs. Claudia Drayton passed away four years ago from breast cancer. Delores and her sisters planned a fundraiser, a breakfast, to raise money to help others with the disease. Now her sisters will continue her mission. In the sea of pink at Saturday’s breakfast, there will also be shades of teal, in memory of Delores. Sheron Burns says, “The reason why we are doing this now is to help someone else who is unfortunate who doesn’t have insurance or unable to pay for their medicine. Hollings Cancer Center did an awesome job with mom and Delores. We didn’t want to have it without her, but with the conversations we thought about, she wanted us to still have it, so we decided to go ahead and have it.” Burns says, “I’m going on to do just what she wanted us to do. I will cherish her memory. She was our backbone. She was our backbone.”
The breast cancer awareness breakfast will be held Saturday, October 29th at the C&P Banquet Hall on Savannah Highway. It begins at 9 a-m. .and tickets are 20-dollars. All proceeds will be donated to the Hollings Cancer Center. For more information, call 843-769-0682.