Raising Up Herself and Those Around Her

DR. YOLANDA DRAINE has a way with bringing people together. When working for an insurance company, she won the Biggest Loser Contest at work, leading her to found the Fit & Fine 40s Club amongst her coworkers. They took a pledge to lead healthier lifestyles, encourage others, and have fun. Besides doing all kinds of fitness challenges, they exercised at least three times a week, monitored portion control, stayed hydrated, and kept an accountability partner. The camaraderie and support of her fitness group was instrumental in her recovery after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

In February 2013, Yolanda felt a lump on her chest during a bout of heartburn. The following month her doctor informed her that preliminary reports from her biopsy detected cancer. With an appointment scheduled for surgery, Yolanda felt positive and proactive. “I felt a sense of calm. I told my husband that I would be fine. He was surprised that I didn’t get emotional.”

Yolanda considered herself lucky that the cancer hadn’t spread. She says, “I tried to keep a positive mindset. We prayed and went through the journey.” After a successful surgery and preventative chemotherapy, she came back with triple-negative results detecting no more cancer. Her experience motivated her to get involved in the cancer community.

“I tried to keep a positive mindset. We prayed and went through the journey.”

Now at 46 years old, Yolanda is the Benefits & Wellness Manager for the Shelby County Mayor’s Administration and an adjunct professor at two universities. She is also actively involved in the American Cancer society. For the past several years, she’s participated in its Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk and also supports the Relay for Life event near her home in Arlington.

“The American Cancer Society does so much for the community, and the money it raises really helps people with cancer.” Memphis’s Making Strides For Breast Cancer walk is on October 22 at the Liberty Bowl. Yolanda will be participating with her team under the name “Team Strong Brave Beautiful.”

In just five months, Yolanda will be a 5-year cancer survivor. Even though her fitness club has died down, she’s still active on her own and finds support through her annual “Girlfriends Getaway Cruise.” This past August, she and 32 women traveled to Belize, Cozumel, and Mahogany Bay encouraging each other and celebrating life.

By Robin Beaudoin. Photo by Tindall Stephens.

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