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A profile: breast cancer survivor motivates others to make health a priority

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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By Coshandra Dillard

Coqueace “Koco” Powell, of Dallas, can teach us all a thing or two about faith, positivity and perseverance. In the face of late-stage cancer, she has never given up on herself while also inspiring others. Her testimonies about the fight to live has struck a chord with people, which garnered her a strong support system.

Powell was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2011. She’s spoken at numerous breast cancer awareness events–at least twice here in Tyler with East Texas Pin-a-Sister–urging audiences to get mammograms.
In her messages, she also stresses the importance of taking care of the outside as well as the inside. A former makeup artist and TV personality, Powell maintains her appearance with her signature nearly bald head, impeccable makeup, large earrings and bright smile.
That confidence in the midst of a health storm resonates with many people, including her thousands of followers on social media.
“I didn’t want to scare anyone,” she joked. “No, I just want to feel pretty going through this ugly disease.”

Over the years, her social media pages have been filled with snapshots of the healthy lifestyle she maintained to boost her immune system and recovery from cancer, including times spent working out. These days, however, the posts are more about her continued treatments and details about setbacks in what is now stage 4 cancer.

Powell was diagnosed at 36 years old, a shock to her, as cancer didn’t run in her family. For the last five years, she’s had more than a dozen rounds of infusion therapy, more than 100 rounds of chemotherapy, and more than 10 surgeries. Hope and the pursuit of healing is what keeps her going.
“It ain’t pretty nor easy,” she said.

Powell urgently warns women to pay attention to their bodies, see a doctor, and most importantly, get a mammogram. Like many other cancer survivors, she finds solace in living life to the fullest. It’s the primary lesson she’s learned throughout this process: “Love myself. Take care of me. Life is too short. Don’t sweat the small stuff,” she said.
She hopes the same lesson will trickle down to others.
“Try to stay faithful, upbeat and positive” she said. “Enjoy life. Be happy.”

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