By Jules Lavallee
Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 4/2/2021- Sharon Spencer is a poet, breast cancer survivor, and employee at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. In February of 2006, she had a hysterectomy (due to fibroids). As she approached 40 her doctor suggested that she have her first mammogram. To her surprise, she was diagnosed with stage 2A breast cancer. In December of 2006, she had a mastectomy followed by chemotherapy in February of 2007. She lost her hair and developed a hernia and pneumonia. In 2008, she was in a terrible car accident and as a result, she lost her right leg above the knee. After 22 surgeries and prayers, she learned to walk again. She is a motivational speaker and also writes poetry. Sharon met Filmmaker Barry Bradford of Keep It Real Productions at the Barclays Center. They have teamed up to share her phenomenal story of resilience in, The Pink Runway, the story of Sharon Spencer.
Sharon, Take us back to when you realized that you may have cancer?
I was shocked and devastated. I could not understand how I got diagnosed at 39 and nobody in my family ever had breast cancer. I struggled with so many emotions which I have written about in my poem called treatment.
My cancer was hormonal. I now realize that there are so many different cancers that I did not know prior to my cancer. I now know that it was all part of GOD’S plan for my life. To whom much is given much is required. July 26th, 2008 changed my life. I woke up with one leg after visiting with a girl two weeks prior to that day who lost her leg! Devastation shock hurt pain are all emotions that you experience when you lose a limb. I wrote a poem for other amputees called amputees lose to win and I pray that it helps others with the loss of their limbs.
How did you meet Barry Bradford of Keep It Real Productions?
I met Barry at the Barclays Center. He reminded me of a former coworker who had recently died from breast cancer. I told him that he looked like someone that I knew and that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Little did I know that he was going to be a big part of the assignment that God had for me. He is producing the movie Pink runway the Sharon Spencer story and I am forever grateful to him.
Tell us about the day that changed everything for you.
The two most difficult parts of telling my story is when I came home after my first treatment. I was so sick that I wanted to die and when I washed my hair it came off of my scalp like a hat. The second thing was looking down and seeing my leg gone. I felt like I was having a bad dream and when I had the interview with Barry and Jamal the writer of the movie I felt tears coming in my eyes. Going back to those places can be hard and I know that when I see it in the movie it will spark all of those emotions. I am also aware that it is part of the process.
What lessons have you learned?
I have learned so many lessons. My first lesson is to trust GOD. I can do nothing without him and he gets all the praise out of this. I have learned about true friends. I have lost a lot but I have gained so much more. I love who I am now. Who I have become. I have helped so many and I intend to help so many more. Out of my pain has come my purpose and I am pretty proud of that.
I have always known that I was going to do something big. I just did not know what it was. GOD had a big assignment for me and I can honestly say that I humbly accept my assignment. I want to make my family proud and I want to help others through my poetry and my story. GOD has prepared me and yes this is the time.
What are your dreams?
One of my biggest dreams is hosting a fashion show for young amputees for their self-esteem. The world will let them know that they are different so I want them to know that it is not the end of the world and that they are more than just their limbs. I always loved fashion and I still keep it together. I often look at the little girls and teenage amputees and I know the struggles that they will face as an amputee so it is very important for me to throw this fashion show. I want Rhianna the R&B singer to help me since she throws fashion shows for plus size and disabled. It will be called fashion for legs. I also wrote a poem about self-esteem called skin deep and which will help women with self-esteem issues. Today body image is taking over and I want them to look inside and love their inner self. I am so proud to be able to honestly say that I love me. I want them to look inside and love their inner self. I am so proud to be able to honestly say that I love me. The whole entire me.
Tell us about your poems and your dream of owning a card company.
My poems are very unique. I lived every single line that I wrote in the cancer poem as well as the amputee poem. I know that there is a need for each one and every time I recite the poems people ask me where they can purchase one. My dream is to have my poems transformed into cards to sell to wounded warriors, hospitals, cancer centers, and even used in commercials. I know that GOD put those words and dreams into me for this purpose. Creating my cards will help others going through. There is a huge market of cancer patients and amputees.
An excerpt of Sharon’s poem.
When you hear the word “Cancer”, it makes you so sad ~ some panic, some fight, but most people get mad.
You struggle with feelings that you’ve never had, but treatment is available, so aren’t you glad?
Oh, the red devil chemo that makes you so ill ~ the fevers, the colds, that leave you with chills.
And oh don’t forget ~ the loss of the hair! That is the thing that most women fear~ and telling your family while hiding your fears.
The feeling of sadness~ the fight, the tears ~
This time next year where will I be?
When I was sick and in the hospital I received so many cards however none of the cards described how I was feeling. Cards are personal. My cards describe how you feel from the beginning, middle, and at the end of the journey. I am proud of my cards and I want to help others through my poetry. Both life-changing experiences have shown me that life is precious and that GOD had a big assignment for me and this is a big part of my assignment. I get healing while helping others. I am currently looking for a distributor for my cards.
Barry, You are the CEO of Keep It Real Productions. Tell us about your background.
I am a proud God-fearing Brooklyn NY Native from very humble beginnings that were offset by the Prayers, Love, and Wisdom of the Greatest Human being I have ever met my late beloved Mom Hilda. I am blessed to have known early on in life that I wanted to be a Professional Athlete or an Actor. I am extremely blessed to have worked with or studied with Academy Award Winners Kevin Costner, Kathy Bates, Russell Crowe, Spike Lee, Paul Haggis, Lawrence Bender, (Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting) 4 Time Academy Award Nominee NYC film Legend Sidney Lumet, Critically Acclaimed Director Boaz Yakin (SAFE, Remember The Titans ) as well as A-List Actors Jason Statham and Idris Elba. My hobbies include Reading, Tennis, Playing Cards, Board Games, Volunteering, and Helping the Elderly!
What does “Keeping It Real”l mean to you?
It means treating everyone with Honesty, Dignity, and Respect. The “Keeping it Real “ Moniker was instilled in me by my loving mom as saying “The TRUTH needs no Defense “ Keeping it Real also keeps the narrative of my Company because I want to focus on True Life encouraging, inspiring Films, TV shows, and Documentaries! Also scholarships, mentorships, Acting classes, Senior Citizen Centers all through the Company as well! I want to leave a legacy of good deeds! ALL to Glorify God!
Tell us about the first time you met Sharon Spencer.
I met Sharon while I was attending a Hall of Fame Basketball Classic Game at Barclays Center Brooklyn NY honoring who I believe is the Greatest Woman’s Basketball Player of all time 5 Time Olympian Teresa Edwards! Sharon and I started talking at the Game and God Intervened and this wonderful collaboration came about! Sharon and I are doing this together and when two believers touch and agree God will take care of the rest all for his Glory!
Your company, Keep it Real Productions focuses on true life inspiring stories and Documentaries. Share your favorite projects.
My favorite Projects are The Pink Runway (The Sharon Spencer Story), A Documentary about the Global Homeless Problem, S.O.S Save Our Seniors! When The Four O’clock Bell Rings TV show! Plus many many more! I have a stockpile of wonderful projects! I would be the one for a company to give a first look picture deal with! They wouldn’t be sorry! keepitrealproductions.com has more information.
Tell us about your new movie, “THE Pink Runway,” The Sharon Spencer Story, and why this was important to you.
Yes, it’s her heartbreaking and heartwarming journey through life that has had tremendous tragedies but Sharon triumphs through them all! God has chosen her because he knew should handle them and be his representative to help people! This is so important for me to share because her story will help millions around the Globe family that have been afflicted with Breast Cancer and losing a limb! She will inspire and encourage all! She will mentor and inspire anyone hurting! Sharon is a leader! She wants to do fashion shows for amputees and have Breast Cancer Awareness not just in October but year-round! She has a card line that directly speaks to Amputees And Breast Cancer Survivors Amazing!
What surprises you the most about Sharon?
Really nothing…. lol but her Incredible Exuberance for life, leading, and wanting to help others despite what she has gone through! Helping is her Greatest joy! God bless her! She never complains and truly believes God is using her for his Glory! The Brooklyn Nets and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver love her and have honored her! She is so deserving!
I have become a better person because of our friendship! I thank Almighty God for her!
Do you see “Keep it Real Productions,” as a conduit for social good at a time that is so volatile?
I do see Keep It Real Productions as a Conduit at this volatile time in the world because of the diversity of stories we will do that can relate to millions! If we ALL understand that our time here on earth eventually ends sans race, religion, or creed it brings us together and we can all be happy! Happy People =Happy World! We are all in this together! We can do it! I believe we will!
Blessings to all!
Resilient cards@instagram and firstname.lastname@example.org