By Elyse Cheatham
People often speak of mirages as life changing experiences. Anisa Palmer, Founder and Executive Director of I Will Survive, Inc., knows this to be true as it was a mirage that lead her to her destiny. At age 24, Anisa was in the serving in the military and was certain she would move up in the ranks and eventually retire from there, but a vision in the desert led her down a different path.
“That day, I remember seeing my mother a very clear photo. I lost my mother at age 5 to breast cancer,” Anisa recalls, “God was sharing a message with me and I knew it was time to go.”
This mirage happened in July. By August, Anisa separated from the military and by December 2010, I Will Survive Inc. was founded. Anisa knew she wanted to help patients, survivors, and the families of those who are also battling breast cancer, but she admits she wasn’t sure what route to take when she first started.
“The transition was tough,” Anisa continues, “I googled everything about starting a non-profit and it helped a lot, but not every organization is the same and you can’t have a vision until you began to learn the needs of the community.”
As the economy began to crash again in early 2011, women who were battling breast cancer were facing the economic shift along with medical bills. “Around this time, a lot of the patients I was meeting were dealing with so much in addition to this, their husbands were leaving. I realized alleviating some of the financial burden and helping with basic survival needs was now the organization’s focus.”
Seven years later, I Will Survive, Inc. has operated under the motto, “Stress-less, Education, Advocate & Action, and Sustainability”. The organization has become a staple in the community with volunteers who help to put a smile on survivor’s faces through lunch dates, mental support, home visits, monthly health workshops, financial assistance, rental assistance, helping with travel costs to facilities, or often times even a ride.
“We are sometimes the only support system for our Survivors,” Anisa states, “and from reading their ‘Thank you’ cards that we hang in our office, I know we are making a difference. In the future, we wish to expand nationally and internationally to connect the survivors of the world.”
Interested in donating or volunteering with these phenomenal women? Get involved with the cause by visiting http://www.iwillsurviveinc.org.