Cancer survivor Allison Alexis, founder of the Queens Cancer Walk on Sept. 17, returned after a two-year hiatus due to COVID, to commemorate seven years with a health fair, and a circle of reflection to honor survivors and thrivers.
Alexis, a Port-of-Spain, Trinidad national, who was showered with praise as a selfless advocate during the day of tributes in Smokey Park, Queens, was also presented with a Citation of Honor from Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., Certificate of Merit from NYS Assemblywoman Arlene Spencer, a citation from Assemblymember Khaleel M. Anderson, recognition and congratulations from NY State Senator Joseph P Addabbo Jr. and a proclamation from NYS Assemblywoman Jennifer Rajkumar.
An 11-year survivor, Alexis said out of the thousands of women in Queens, she was chosen by God to lead the fight by founding the Queens Cancer Walk. “I am most grateful, all of this means so much to me,” said the fighter.
Against the backdrop, “Celebrating Another Birthday after a Cancer Diagnosis” Alexis, a strong advocate, and survivors, sashed in pink, along with Assembly District Leader 31, Richard S. David, Consulate General of T&T, J. Andre Laveau, and scores of supporters, circled the park seven times to honor the milestone.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. honored the heroes and sheroes, noting that the borough was one of the hardest hit by cancer and COVID, focuses on wellness. Donovan, whose grandmother died from the disease, said his office put $20M into healthcare institutions as they build back stronger after COVID.
“I want to thank Allison, an outstanding leader, for coordinating and bringing us together. It takes a village, to make sure we can socialize. The more we lean on one another, the better we will be,” said Donovan.
Wishing the resilient women, a happy birthday, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, after being affixed with a purple pin by Alexis, applauded the efforts of money being raised for cancer research. She also thanked caregivers for their contribution to the future of their families.
“Alison shows up and organizes this walk. We people in Queens are strong, said Katz who thanked sponsors, and law enforcement for showing up every year to fight against cancer. “The public understands we will celebrate survivors every day,” she said.
“It’s about the survivors, happy birthday, and thank you, for being our inspiration to fight against cancer. It’s our obligation as elected officials to work with everyone to see what we can do in the fight against cancer,” said NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., whose dad died from cancer in 1986.
“We have made great strides since then, we have seen the survival rate go higher, but we will not be happy until the survival rate is 100 percent of people who survive the illnesses of cancer, lauding Alexis for all that she does.
Consul General of Trinidad & Tobago, J. Andre Laveau, said fighting cancer was all about solidarity and no one should go through this type of suffering alone. “Our hope and prayer are that research, knowledge, technology and faith above all will bring us to the position where all can conquer cancer,” he said, and recognized the consulate staff, that supported the initiative.
“We are here because we care for humanity, and we are moved by the people who are suffering from cancer and have lost family and friends. We are sending our love and strength to all who are in this fight. God bless this gathering, as we walk seven times around the park,” said CG Laveau.
Assemblymember Khaleel M Anderson applauded the Queens Cancer Walk committee, and Allison Alexis, noting that so many people suffer in silence without that hand of hope to lift them up, or shoulder to cry on, and asked supporters to give each other an elbow. “As we fight cancer it is okay to love someone and uplift them and called Alexis a fearless fighter for the community.”
Justice Karen Gopee, and others gave tributes to the cancer event’s co-host Rose Deonarine who said it was a special symbolic day. There were entertainment, a Circle of Reflection, and a SocaCize fitness warm-up before the walk began.
Survivors, Camile Ali, Makala Mohamed, Vicky Lall, Mary Cassaberry, Indira Nagassar, Nazeem Mohamed, Natasha Beharry, Wendy Foster, Romola Rampaul, received citations, while supporters, including this reporter, Tropical Fete’s founder, Alton Aimable, Rohan Narine, among many others, were honored with plaques for their contributions to the organization.
Sponsors included, Butterflies BBI, Juice 101, NYC Health+Hospitals, Community Board 9, Sound Chat radio, Flavors, and scores of others.