Providing support for cancer patients

Michelle Wulfson | The Item

The Huntsville Diamonds Cancer Team started in 2015 as an assignment from president and founder Lateel Richardson’s pastor, to gather a group of women for the annual breast cancer walk, growing quickly from there.

It hasn’t been easy for Richardson, however, now, six years-later, the small, but mighty group is quietly making huge impacts in the community.

“I’m grateful that The Diamonds are still going on, because sometimes I wanted to give it up, but somebody always comes by that whispers something in my ear that makes me want to keep going. Or you reach out to that one person you helped out and the way they thank you, smile and tell you how grateful they are, that makes you want to keep going. I guess it’s just God that’s made it go on this long,” Richardson said.

Over the years, the Diamonds’ service has spread by word of mouth, and the organization helps five to 10 individuals every year.

The Huntsville Diamonds Cancer Team serves as an informational source for those experiencing cancer and fosters support groups for patients and family members to speak with survivors in order for those involved to know what to expect.

“We have some ladies in the group that have actually been through chemo and radiation and I just try to hook them up with someone that can help them get through it better than I can,” Richardson said.

The Diamonds started out with a focus on supporting those diagnosed with breast cancer, organizing cancer walks, their annual gala and fundraisers for patients. However, after seeing the amount of people in the community fighting cancer in all of its forms, as well as those facing their own battles in everyday life, Richardson’s philanthropy has expanded to serve anyone in need.

“If they need us in anyway, you don’t have to have cancer with me – it’s just my heart, so it doesn’t matter,” Lateel Richardson said. “If somebody comes to us and tells us they have a need, we just try to give and be there.”

The Diamonds work hard year-round to hold annual backpack, school supply, clothing and immunization drives. This year’s Breast Cancer Awareness walk is currently in the works and will raise funds to support families in the community who are truly in need of a little help this Thanksgiving and Christmas.

While the group no longer solely focuses on breast cancer, the month of October still holds a special place in their hearts. The women who stand by Richardson’s side each have their own battles faced with the disease, from watching their loved ones endure, to experiencing it first hand themselves.

For Richardson, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a constant reminder of the importance of staying vigilant in checking oneself for abnormalities, since having her own experiences with breast cancer scares as early as her junior year of high school, when she found her first lump in her breast. The mass was benign, but several more have developed over the years since then, which she monitors carefully.

“I think it’s just important that every woman should be checked because you just never know,” Richardson said. “Sometimes, you don’t catch it in time and it’s just too late because you ignore it, you ignore the pain, you ignore the spot, you ignore the lump and when you finally go, it’s too late.”

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