SNOW HILL, Greene County - Viviene Buckely Ball serves good food at Jamacian Cuisine Cafe and Cupcakes on the Go. She also serves up a good message too.
Ball has always been happiest in the kitchen. She moved from Jamaica to Farmville a year ago to open a restaurant with her husband in Snow Hill. It's something she's always dreamed of doing even after she received a big health scare 11 years ago.
"Back then, I used to be watching TV and when they mentioned cancer, I get up, I walk away. It scared the life out of me," Ball said.
With no family history of breast cancer, it seemed inconceivable to her ... until one night in 2006. Her brother called her with the news that a family friend had died from the disease.
"Right then and there, I said 'oh man, I start sweating'," Ball said. "I already took my shower, I said 'I'm gonna go shower again.' I was examining myself, I felt a lump."
Through her year-long cancer battle, she never slowed down. She worked, stayed positive and maintained a healthy lifestyle. Today, she's cancer free.
"Growing up, they always looked at the hair on my hand and said you're a strong woman," Ball said. "And I was wondering, what are they talking about, strong woman? But now when I look into it, I am indeed a strong woman, God made me a strong woman."
She said she detected her cancer early because she did the self-examination that day 11 years ago. Johns Hopkins Medical Center says 40 percent of breast cancer diagnosis comes from women who feel a lump while doing self exams. Ball encourages women to do the same.
"Every woman should get their mammogram done, and do their self-examination, eat right, don't put things in your body that you know is going to be harmful for you," Ball said.