4 months ago

Alabama breast cancer survivor Carla Youngblood: Don’t let illness define you

The path of life isn’t easy for everyone. But the lens in which one views their circumstances is all important.

For Carla Youngblood, keeping a positive perspective helped her beat a deadly, triple-negative breast cancer nearly four years ago. A professional comedienne, Youngblood releases her 174-page book, “Cancer Ain’t Funny! Laugh Anyway …,” on Oct. 20.

When she was diagnosed, Youngblood knew a tough road lay ahead. But she vowed to face adversity head on, through a positive outlook and laughter. Having won her cancer battle, Youngblood has made it her mission to help others fight the good fight. The comedienne has taken her message cross-country, telling other women and men that they, too, can and will beat the odds.

The picture of health, Youngblood is defiantly vibrant: Her face lights up with a broad smile, she bubbles with laughter and she jokes about cancer. Indeed, Youngblood calls a “merry heart” and a good attitude a form of medicine. She knows from experience that patients need a “spirit lifter.”

“I figured I had to share my story, and see if I could give others a different perspective,” said Youngblood, who in 2015 discovered she had one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer.

“It’s doom and gloom for some people, even after they’re OK,” Youngblood said. “They act like it’s all their life story. But if you’re alive, you’re moving, you’re still breathing, you still have a chance. That’s what I want people to see.”

Facing up to cancer

Cancer led Youngblood down a path of numerous therapies: mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and preventative medicines.

A trained breast cancer advocate for Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center in Birmingham, Youngblood shares her experiences and her time with newly diagnosed patients. She attends doctor visits, takes notes and asks questions that a shell-shocked patient may forget. Most importantly, Youngblood listens and encourages women after their diagnosis.

“I give a positive outlook,” Youngblood said. “When I’m on stage, I try to make people smile and forget their troubles, even if for a small while, to put their thoughts elsewhere. I’ve always been a happy-to-lucky person,” added Youngblood, who attributes her spirit to being the baby in a family of five children.

“I always cut up and make people laugh, and make my family smile,” she said. “I always see things a little differently. I have thoughts about stuff that puts a smile on my face. If you learn to laugh at yourself and not be so serious, you can handle life a whole lot better.”

Youngblood’s strategy has always been to be upbeat, even when she realized in September 2015 that she had a health problem. She felt an odd pain in her chest, but only at night. For a few days, she cast off her worry as heartburn. When she visited Dr. April Maddux at Brookwood Baptist Medical Center, she got the news.

“It was two tumors that had been connected – one was at the 2 o’clock position and the other was at the 10 o’clock position,” she said.

From there, Youngblood underwent a battery of tests: mammograms, ultrasounds, blood work and a biopsy. From Nov. 5 to Aug. 8, she had 16 rounds of chemotherapy, followed by 28 radiation treatments. In December 2016, she underwent a hysterectomy.

“I couldn’t wait to see the end of 2016,” Youngblood admitted.

Thriving after adversity

Youngblood advises women to listen to their bodies. Since she got her clean bill of health following breast cancer, Youngblood has given many motivational speeches about how to move forward after adversity. On Oct. 11, Youngblood spoke to about 50 businesswomen for the Women’s Network at the Harbert Center in Birmingham.

“No two people are alike: The cancer is different, the doctor is different, the body is different,” Youngblood said. “Adversity has its own weight – it depends on who’s having to carry it. You have to find a way to move forward.

“One thing that I always share is that people have different kinds of adversity,” she said. “Having a spouse that dies after 75 years – now that’s adversity.”

Always seeking the bright side, Youngblood said her life experiences have provided plenty of material for her comedy show.

“There’s a joy that’s inside of me,” she said. “When I volunteer at Forge and share with the other ladies, or when I’m on stage, I give a positive outlook. Most things you have no control over, but you have control over your response. That’s how I choose to live.”

Meet Youngblood at her book signing on Sunday, Oct. 20, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Little Professor Book Center, 2844 18th St. South in Birmingham.

(Courtesy Alabama NewsCenter)

19 mins ago

7 Things: Byrne throwing haymakers in Senate race, Tuberville says he isn’t for amnesty but there is a tape, Trump plays the race card and more …

7. Bloomberg reportedly has made inappropriate comments towards female employees

  • A report from the Washington Post has shown detailed accounts of inappropriate comments former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made towards women and ways that he’s discriminated against women.
  • One of the accounts in the report was of a female employee who announced that she was pregnant, and Bloomberg responded, “Kill it!” President Donald Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said that the way Bloomberg has treated his female employees creates an “unsafe workplace.” She added, “[T]o feel that you’re being harassed because of your gender, that is problematic.”

6. UAB one of the best hospitals

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  • UAB Hospital has made the cut for one of America’s Best Hospitals based on overall clinical excellence. Only the top 5% of hospitals in the country qualify.
  • There’s a total of 32 conditions and procedures that hospitals are evaluated on to be determined one of the best, including stroke, heart failure and heart attack. If treated at a hospital ranked as one of America’s best, there’s a 26.6% higher survival rate.

5. Every Trump appointee just needs to resign or be investigated?

  • Amid the drama of the Department of Justice getting involved in the case of Roger Stone, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is calling for U.S. Attorney General William Barr to testify before the Senate while others are calling for resignation or impeachment (which will never happen).
  • Klobuchar wants to ensure that the decision of the Justice Department wasn’t influenced by President Donald Trump with him “constantly tweeting out different requests of the Justice Department.” Barr has already agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

4. Medical marijuana vote expected this week

  • On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding a public hearing where the medical marijuana bill will likely be discussed, and a vote on the bill could happen on the same day.
  • State Senator Tim Melson’s (R-Florence) would require that people first get a prescription for medical marijuana from a state-approved doctor before going to a dispensary to purchase their products. Only those with specific conditions would be approved for a medical marijuana card.

3. Trump takes “The Beast” for a spin at Daytona

  • President Donald Trump visited the Daytona 500 on Sunday where he acted as the Grand Marshall for the race and took the presidential limo on a lap around the track while chants of “four more years” and “USA!” filled the track.
  • Obviously, the media and their Democrats were not happy with this and complained that the limo was a government resource being used for campaign purposes, which is the same complaint they make about Air Force One. Even though both parties have complained about this practice in the past, it is clearly permissible.

2. Tuberville isn’t for amnesty

  • In the 2020 U.S. Senate race in Alabama, U.S. Representative Bradly Byrne (R-Fairhope) has released an ad that takes aim at former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, replaying audio from a Shoals Republican Club meeting where Tuberville talks about illegal immigration, saying, “Put the wall up – then let them come in and become citizens like we all became citizens.”
  • The narrator in the ad responds with “Hey, Tommy, that’s amnesty,” but at a campaign stop in Hartselle, Tuberville said that when it comes to amnesty for illegal immigrants, “You have to go and start back the right way.” He added that people saying he’s for amnesty are part of “the swamp. … They can’t run on anything, they don’t do anything. They’ve never done anything.”

1. Byrne throwing punches shows the state of the race

  • Whether he is in second or third is up for debate, but U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) is the first candidate to go on the attack in his own name in the 2020 U.S. Senate race, putting out a television ad saying that both former Auburn Football coach Tommy Tuberville and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions “should’ve stayed fired.”
  • The ad compares Byrne to Tuberville and Sessions, saying that “Bradley is the proven fighter with a track record of defending President Trump and our values.” The Sessions campaign has responded to the ad saying that candidates attack when they’re “desperate and afraid.”

2 hours ago

Montgomery launches ‘Feed the Meter for the Homeless’ project

Under the leadership of Mayor Steven L. Reed, new specialized parking meters were installed last week in downtown Montgomery to provide a quick, convenient way to support locals affected by homelessness.

Reed announced the meters were on the way during a recent city council meeting. Called the “Feed the Meter for the Homeless” project, the City’s new initiative is made possible through a partnership with the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless (MACH).

The special parking meters are green and offer residents a way to donate directly to support MACH and central Alabama agencies working with those experiencing homelessness in Alabama’s capital city. Donations will be accepted in the forms of coins or cash at each specialized meter and by card through the ParkMobile app (zone 36999) or online payment.

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“The Feed the Meter for the Homeless initiative connects compassion with convenience by allowing Montgomery residents and visitors to support our neighbors affected by homelessness and its devastating ramifications,” Reed said in a statement. “Each donation is a hand-up to help those in need and an investment in building a better future for Montgomery and the River Region.”

For more information on Feed the Meter for the Homeless MGM, please click here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Cathy Randall now serving on board of The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham

Dr. Cathy J. Randall, chairman of the board of Pettus Randall Holdings, LLC, is now serving as a board member for The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham.

The Women’s Fund made the announcement in a recent release, detailing that Randall term’s officially began on January 1. A Birmingham native and Tuscaloosa resident, she is a longtime, prominent civic and corporate leader, as well as the legendary former director of the University Honors Programs at the University of Alabama.

Tracey Morant Adams, board chair for The Women’s Fund, said in a statement, “The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham strives to elevate and amplify women’s voices, and we are incredibly fortunate to welcome Dr. Randall to our board as she is a well-established voice in the state.”

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“Cathy’s passion for community service and her experience in building a better Alabama will be a tremendous asset for the organization,” Adams added.

Randall’s service to the state includes being immediate past chairman of the Alabama Academy of Honor and former president of the boards of directors of the American Village, the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame and the David Mathews Center of Civic Life, as well as former director of Alabama Girls State.

Additionally, she currently serves on the board of Alabama Power Company and is a former board member of Mercedes Benz USI. Randall was the co-chair of Governor Kay Ivey’s inaugural committee and was named as a Woman of Impact by Yellowhammer Multimedia in 2018.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 hours ago

Sessions responds to ‘desperate and afraid’ Byrne and Tuberville — ‘Sad to see them both descend to such a sleazy low point’

With Alabama’s U.S. Senate Republican primary headed into the home stretch, the field’s three front-runners are beginning to mix it up among one another.

The first significant shot came from U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), who on Saturday went up on air with an ad attacking both his leading opponents: former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville. Tuberville has thrown a few barbs as well while on the stump, including one at Sessions that accused him of having “turned on” President Donald Trump.

In a statement given to Yellowhammer News, Sessions condemned the tone of both Byrne and Tuberville, noting their positions in recent polling and describing their tacks as “sleazy.”

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“It is unfortunate that both Tommy Tuberville and Bradley Byrne have abandoned any pretense of running a positive campaign. But it is not surprising: both candidates are trailing in the polls, and when politicians like Tuberville and Byrne are losing, they become desperate and afraid,” Sessions stated. “Both Tuberville and Byrne have quit on themselves and their campaigns. Neither can connect with voters on the merits of their ideas. It is sad to see them both descend to such a sleazy low point.”

Sessions warned there would be a response if this activity persisted.

“If their baseless, desperate attacks continue, they will be forcefully answered,” he continued.

The former U.S. Senator maintained that Alabamians in this primary will be focused on substantive issues.

“The key issue for Alabamians is who will most effectively and forcefully fight for their conservative values and interests, such as ending illegal immigration, protecting our jobs from unfair foreign competition, defending religious freedom, and further advancing our strong Trump economy.”

Alabama Republican voters on March 3 will cast a ballot for their preference to represent them on the general election ballot in November.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.

16 hours ago

Leaders, educators and students gather for Alabama’s 2nd Annual HBCU Summit

Alabama’s 2nd Annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Summit celebrated the state’s 14 HBCUs and the value they bring to higher education across our state and country. Saturday’s event, moderated by Alabama U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, was held at Miles College in Fairfield.

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The event kicked off with a panel discussion titled “Women in the Lead: How Six Alabama HBCU Presidents Are Raising the Bar.” The session included comments from:

“Extraordinary panel of women in leadership positions,” Jones said afterwards. “I think they provide unique insights to this. Just an amazing group of women that come from varied backgrounds — they came from academics, but also from business, so it’s a unique perspective that is what is going on with HBCUs but also with higher education in general.”

The panelists touched on a number of topics, including ways to help more high school students and nontraditional students get enrolled, making the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) simpler to fill out, partnering with businesses to offer degrees and curriculum the businesses need and working together to elevate the communities they serve.

“That’s what we pride ourselves on is that the benefit of being an HBCU is that … you may not have these large classrooms like you have (elsewhere), but you have teachers that know your name, teachers that care,” Archie said. “We’re going to give you that pep talk when you need that pep talk and we’re going to help you achieve.”

It is that level of concern for students that stood out to Jones.

“These female leaders are so dynamic and so passionate about what they do,” Jones said. “They care so much about their students and their communities. They really represent the best of all HBCUs. HBCUs are the fabric of the communities and I think you saw that reflected here today.”

The summit also featured a career fair and an afternoon panel discussion titled “Student Voices: How Alabama HBCU Student-Leaders Are Lifting Up Their Campuses.” The panel, moderated by Jones, featured students from Miles College, Alabama A&M University, Shelton State Community College, Talladega College and Trenholm State Community College.

“Trying to educate and train the workforce of the 21st century is going to be a challenge,” Jones said. “We’re changing technologically, we’re changing demographically, we’re online — everything is moving in a different direction. Education has got to keep up with that, but also so do businesses. They’ve also got to start reaching out and develop those partnerships to not only train, but to mentor. I think you heard that today.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)