Yvonne Dunkley was born in Jamaica and migrated to “the land of gold” (or so she was taught to call America) in 1986. Upon arriving in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Yvonne was alone and without family, yet determined to make the best of her current situation. Though her condition was challenging, Yvonne was determined to keep a positive outlook on her new life in the States. Eventually, she began working in a Jamaican restaurant, and it was there that she met her future husband with whom she would marry and raise four wonderful children. Living in New York was a challenge and due to constant struggles, in 2001 she and her family left New York to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia to begin a new chapter. The difference was noted immediately- larger homes and more opportunities. Yvonne found a new career in real estate and soon began reaping the rewards of this new endeavor. Sadly, with the turn of the economy, Yvonne soon found herself again in dire straits. With her children now enrolled in high school and college, the urgency of financial obligations pressed upon her mind constantly. The stress of the situation often kept her up at nights and she began to have bouts where she would shake uncontrollably. Her life became a living nightmare as she struggled to make ends meet. Finally, she made the decision to step away from the edge of the cliff instead of going over it and plunging into the abyss- she declared bankruptcy and was able to keep her home in the process. Even in the midst of her challenges, she was always determined to keep her thoughts positive and focused on her goals to help her push past the temporary hardship. Yvonne went into “survival mode” and decided to enroll into nursing school so that she would be able to secure steady work. With her goal set in her mind, she was able to easily pass challenging summer courses through the help of God.
In February 2009 she underwent her annual mammogram with no complications noted. Stress was still a part of her daily life. In March 2010, she again went in for an annual mammogram, however this time, the result was in stark contrast to those from just one year earlier. The doctor told Yvonne that she had stage 3 breast cancer that was quickly progressing to stage 4. She firmly believes that the stress she experienced throughout the years was the reason for her diagnosis. In all, 19 lymph nodes were taken from her arm and 15 were found to be affected. Treatment was quickly begun, with Yvonne undergoing a single mastectomy as well as 6 rounds of chemotherapy with 3 different drugs and 35 sessions of radiation. Throughout her agony and pain, she again chose to think on what she wanted to accomplish in life and how she would accomplish it. She was determined to not let her pain be in vain. It is from her pain that her charity program ‘Feed the Fight Breast Cancer Awareness’ program was birthed. Though she suffers daily from the side effects of chemo and radiation, including neuropathy, delayed memory and constant tingling in her fingers, Yvonne sees her pain as blessings because of all the people that she is able to reach globally as she raises awareness for breast, prostate and cervical cancer.