Health Victories

With Every Breath is a Blessing – “Where do I go next?”

Written by Juilanna McGahee

“I called my doctor, and I said I need to come in because I have a blood clot that’s running up my arm. So, he said ‘Okay, we’ll look at it and see what it is, and we’ll let you go home,’” said Lecia Raiford.

A sonogram revealed that Raiford had clots up to her neck, which raised concerns about possible clots in her chest. They decided to perform an X-ray which showed not only clots in her chest, but a spot on her lungs. Her doctors then had a biopsy done on the spot to determine what it was.

“It ended up being cancer.”

An appointment for a blood clot running up her arm led Raiford to discover she had lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the US, accounting for about 1 in 5 cancer deaths; this is because when symptoms begin showing, the cancer has already spread, making treatment time sensitive according to Wellstar MCG.

Raiford was seen by the lung cancer care team here at the Georgia Cancer Center for her treatment journey. Girindra Raval, MD, served as her medical oncologist, and Willian Grubb, MD, was her radiation oncologist.

“My doctors and my nurses are amazing. I could call them up at any time if I had a question, they gave me their numbers to call them to find out if I needed anything, if I was doing great. And it was, it was unbelievable. I would suggest anybody to come over here,” said Raiford.

Raiford had not only the care and support of her medical team, but also of her family and friends.

When Raiford first discovered she had cancer, she decided to create her own support group. She reached out to people via Facebook, where she kept them up to date on what was going on. The group gave her prayers and lifted her up during the process.

Faith has played a significant role in Raiford’s life. She would tell anyone going through any hardship to always have faith.

“If you lose your faith, you start losing hope, and that’s the biggest thing that I could not give up.”

On April 14th, 2023, Raiford completed her treatment for lung cancer, but she was not done yet.

“You fight for so long, now you say, where do I go next?”

Raiford’s next step was creating a space where other lung cancer patients, survivors, and friends and families of these individuals, can come together to give each other strength and hope.

“I want to do something for people so they can have an outlet,” Raiford said.

She is currently in the process of creating an organization for people experiencing similar things and who might not be aware of all the cancers. The name of the organization will be “With every breath is a blessing.”

In November of 2023, she hosted her first lung cancer awareness event.

“It was a spur-of-the-moment thing that I wanted to do; I’ve decided to start doing that every year. This will bring all the organizations together so that we, as the people, the doctors, the researchers, all of us can get together and the help people that’s going through these changes that they’re going through in their lives.”

She plans to host the event again this November.

“Everybody will be invited. Everybody can come because I want everyone to know what a blessing it is to have other people to support you and what you’re doing.”

If you would like more information about Raiford’s organization and the upcoming event, you can go to the Lecia Raiford MyNew Life Journey Facebook group.

The Georgia Cancer Center has several resources for lung cancer available, including lung screenings. If you would like more information about lung cancer, please visit our website to learn more about screening and treatment options