LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month and one lady leading the fight here on the coast is having to go under the knife once again.
JoAn Niceley, the founder of the non-profit Pink Heart Funds, fought breast cancer 12 years ago. After numerous surgeries, she was told she was cancer free. But recently, doctors discovered a new tumor. She said it's proof of how important health screenings are.
"The doctor told me that it could turn into cancer. There were, like, pre-cancerous cells. You could keep an eye on it. Keep biopsying it, or you could go ahead and do surgery. To me, duh, that was a no brainer," Niceley said. "I go under the knife Thursday morning at 6 a.m. Thursday October 16."
Until then, Niceley is putting hair back on the heads of those who have hair loss due to cancer or other diseases. It's part of her mission.
"We're just putting hair extensions in Taylor's hair. She had chemotherapy and lost most of her hair on one side. She didn't lose it all over," she said while adding the extensions to Taylor Hopwood's head at JoAn's Hair Studio in Long Beach.
When Niceley isn't working on hair she's raising money to help those with cancer and other illnesses.
October is Niceley's busiest month. With more than a dozen fundraisers planned, she said it will be hard to break away from everything. But she also knows you can't ignore your health.
"You have to take care of the situation. You have to embrace it. You have to move forward. It's not something to sit around and wait on," she added.
The breast cancer survivor said if she doesn't do anything about her tumor, she may not be around to see another birthday. And that's something she always looks forward to.
"Yes, I'm 55, still alive, and love to jive," she said with a laugh.
Making sure she and others live to enjoy another birthday, Niceley reminds everyone to check your health regularly.
"Well, people go, 'Why were you doing self-breast exams?' I said, it's just in my head. I did them for years. I always tell everyone to do self-breast exams. Check your whole body. If you have a lump in your wrist and it doesn't feel right, go get it checked out," she explained.
Her surgery is just five days shy of the anniversary of when she was diagnosed with breast cancer on October 21, 2002.