Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Three-time Olympic relay bronze medallist, Novlene Williams-Mills, has developed a reputation for being a fighter in the world of track and field.
It is this spirit that she carried over into her fight against breast cancer, after being diagnosed on June 25, 2012.
The quarter-miler also has four World Championships 4x400m relay silver medals, a 400m World Championships bronze medal, a Commonwealth Games 400m bronze medal and seven 400m national titles.
The 31-year-old believes the character she has developed over the years in training and competition proved vital in her battling the deadly disease.
"As athletes we put our bodies through so much everyday and we are all about winning," Williams-Mills shared with The Gleaner, following yesterday's Jamaica Cancer Society 'Keeping Abreast' luncheon held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel. She was the guest speaker at the Sagicor-sponsored event.
"As athletes we train to win, so at the end of day for me in particular when I was faced with a situation like this (breast cancer) the only choice I had was to fight as I normally do on the track," Williams-Mills noted. "When you are faced with cancer you are not competing against someone, you are competing with your body."
It was a teary-eyed Williams-Mills who addressed the luncheon, which saw persons contributing $5,000 per seat. Other cancer survivors were on hand and they were presented with gift baskets courtesy of Consumer Brands.
betrayal, anger, sadness, denial
"When I learned that I had cancer I felt a sense of betrayal, anger, sadness, denial and those were just a few," Williams-Mills told the gathering. "I just could not see myself as a cancer patient. But there it was right in my face and there were two things that I could do; one was to feel sorry for myself or two, stand up and fight. And fight is what I did."
Williams-Mills revealed to the world in June of this year that she had been diagnosed and had undergone a double mastectomy.
"I was scared for a bit (to come public) because everybody always know me as Novlene Williams-Mills and now they will know me as Novlene, the breast cancer survivor," Williams-Mills said.
"The other athletes have been so supportive. They have been coming up to me and telling me that for me to even get back out on the track and doing what I love to do is so moving to them, because if it was them they don't know how they would do it."
Williams-Mills, who lives and trains in Florida with her husband, believes it will soon be time for her to hang up her spikes, as she wants to become a mother.
"It is approaching that time soon, being faced with breast cancer and for me, it is time to start thinking about my family and that is something I want to do soon," Williams-Mills shared. "I am just going to take it month by month and see everything, but I would love to be at the Commonwealth Games. I am not sure about Indoors as yet."