MY MOTHERS STORY

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My mother, Angela Little, was born on December 24th, 1966, in Wilmington NC, to the late Fannie and James Jackson.  She was the youngest of five siblings.  At the age of 18, shortly after graduating high school, she gave birth to me and three years later had my brother.  She married the love of her life and started an in-home daycare.  She was passionate about family, cooking, health, gardening, attending church, and writing. 

 

Growing up, we were far from rich.  Despite that fact, my mother worked hard to ensure our needs were met.  At the age of seven we relocated to a small town, Castle Hayne, just outside of Wilmington.  Also, around this time she decided to home-school me.  Many questioned her decision, nevertheless, God knew what he was doing.  He was allowing us to spend extensive time together and learn lessons that would prepare me to live a life without her. 

 

My mother’s journey of battling breast cancer started in 1995.  We spent countless days at the hospital.  During one of our visits I asked my father, “Why are we always here?”  When he did not answer, I knew it was something traumatic.  I did not understand the severity of her illness, and as a result, I assumed that after treatment, life would resume to normal.

 

She struggled with the decision to close her daycare.  It was my goal to ensure she did not allow cancer to stop her from living her life), After all, I watched her go through the process of obtaining her license.  I promised her I would assist by doing whatever I could to keep the business going.  During this time I took the lead household chores and accompanied her during radiation treatments. 

 

After the completion of radiation, there was a season of remission.  We celebrated as things were starting to return to “normal”.  Months later, she started to feel ill again, prompting her to return to the doctor.  Reports revealed that cancer had returned and she would have to receive chemotherapy, in addition to more radiation.  She was given the option of a mastectomy, but declined. 

 

Reluctantly, she closed the daycare and I went back to public school.  I was initially excited about the experience, however, it wasn’t long before I begged to return home.  The thought of her being home alone frightened me, plus the adjustment to school was horrible.  Weeks later, I arrived home and was greeted by a giant sign that read, “Welcome back to homeschool".  While my father worked, I cared for her and completed school assignments.                                                

     

Leading up to the summer, my parents decided that my brother and I would attend summer camp for two weeks.  The morning we left, I kissed her goodbye and told her I would see her the following weekend, because parents were scheduled join us.  I remember rushing as I gave her a peck on the cheek and a hug… and in return she stared at me in disgust, to communicate to slow down and properly say goodbye.        

On the 16th of July, I asked the camp director if I could call home and expressed that I missed my mother and was feeling homesick.  The phone rang several times before being greeted by the answering machine.  Frustrated, I placed the phone back on the receiver and returned to my bunk.  

On July 18th, I ran to greet my parents.  While hugging my father, I asked, “Where is mama?”  Every time I inquired about her, he would instruct me to find my brother.  Finally, after locating him he pulled us aside…there was a long pause before he blurted out, “She went to heaven”.  I stared at him in confusion and responded with, “What?”  Before he could repeat himself, I snatched away screaming, “Mama,” for what seemed like forever.       

With a swollen face, red eyes, and complete exhaustion from screaming…I managed to gather myself and listened to my father as he shared that she died on July 15th, the day before I made the call home to check on her.  She was 31 years old, I was 12.          

Memories of her are my therapy and lessons she taught me has been my guide through life.  Because of her, I appreciate small things and I will give up nor will I settle.  I feel as though God is allowing me the opportunity to experience the life she hoped for. 

In 2015, I launched Pink Treasures in order to share her with the world. It was. and honestly, so I too could heal and make peace with her death…despite my lack of understanding.  It is important that I develop a brand that allows me to explore topics that we share, are passionate about….such as health, family, business, adventure, and fashion….while supporting the breast cancer community and making her proud!

Tamika Byas 

“Who is Tamika”?  

Just a girl who has chosen to live life despite all odds.  I am obsessed with health, family, business, and fashion.

 

What led me to start PT98?

My mama, Angela, who passed of breast cancer in 1998.  She was, and still is, a great influence in my life.  Despite the short time of her presence on this earth she taught me many valuable lessons....from finances, health, cooking, and hygiene...she is the foundation of who I am.  Over the years, I just enhanced and tweaked a few things. 

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After completing my first breast cancer walk in 2015, I wasted to honor my mother on a larger platform by sharing our story and also support the breast cancer community.   Honestly, the thought of launching PT98 made me ill.  I talked myself out of it many times.  Nevertheless, something kept telling me, "You have to do it....this is bigger than you and its not about you. It's about helping others overcome struggles that God delivered you from".  So, here I am just taking one step at a time allowing PT98 to grow

Why the name Pink Treasures 98? 

My team name, while participating in my first breast cancer walk, was Pink Treasures.  Months later, I officially decided to launch the blog I added “98” as my personal stamp, the year my mother died.

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