September Survivor of the Month: Angel McCaskill

By: Susanna Black

GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Angel McCaskill discovered a lump in her breast in July of 2007. She had no idea what she was feeling, she just knew it was large. Four months earlier her yearly check-up had turned up normal, but suddenly, she wasn't so sure things were still clear.

The uncertainty was warranted. A few weeks later Angel got word her large lump was actually Stage II breast cancer. The day she got the diagnosis, she says a voice started talking to her as she drove down I-85.

"The Lord told me that day, 'You will live and not die'," Angel says. "I took that to heart and never looked back. I knew I would be good, because He told me. I didn't doubt. I had no complications and took chemo well. Everything went according to plan."

Angel says she tried as best she could to go about her everyday life as normal. She led praise and worship at her church at the time, IRC Outreach in Kings Mountain.  (She's now at Weeping Mary Baptist in York County, South Carolina, where her husband is Pastor) and attended her son's football games and spent quality time with her daughter. After 12 weeks of chemo and breast reconstruction, doctors couldn't find a sign of the lump. It was gone. Her cancer never returned.

Angel says she knows she's blessed and lucky. Today, she is active in the breast cancer community in every way possible. She believes she battled cancer so she could help those facing the same diagnosis and encourage prevention. Only weeks after her treatment ended, Angel started her own foundation, Earth Angel Breast Cancer Foundation, or EABCF.

"I sat down and tried to come up with a way to encourage, empower and educate everyone I could possibly come in contact with," Angel said. "I just wanted to help somebody because of what I went through."

EABCF holds the Simply Pink Luncheon every October. She invites doctors to speak and survivors to share. She says it's a great opportunity to get together with the community, while learning (and asking questions!) about anything breast cancer-related.

Angel is also involved in Susan G. Komen Charlotte Race for the Cure, the American Cancer Society, and was Cancer Services of Gaston County's "Face of Hope" for 2013.

She has advice to share—lots of it. She says she doesn't have to tell people something she's heard about secondhand, because she's lived it directly.

"Perform self exams!," she says. "Get those mammograms. Believe it or not, they can save your life. If it's caught early enough, you can live with breast cancer. It's not a life sentence for everyone. Keep a positive attitude and trust God. He'll bring you through it."

Congratulations, Angel!