When the Rev. Annette Nash heard the diagnosis, she thought "Not again, Lord."
It was breast cancer.
The doctors at Newton Medical Center had spotted some suspicious breast tissue in her mammogram in January and decided to watch it closely. When Nash came back in June, it had grown.
Nash, a pastor at Flat Rock Baptist Church, had already had many close calls regarding her health in the past two years because of her heart disease, and had been hospitalized 12 times.
In 2005, she underwent a quadruple bypass surgery. She had two stents inserted last May and another one later in the year. With each incident, her doctors told her she had been on the verge of a massive heart attack.
"I've come close to death so many times," said Nash.
So when she heard this latest news, after the shock wore off, she knew what to do: she began praying and talking with God.
She also brought the news to her church family, because she knew the power of sharing a burden.
Unknown to Nash, back in May, the Rev. W.G. Tigner Jr., of New Beginning Full Gospel Church, along with Associate Pastor Anne Whitlock of Flat Rock Baptist Church, had started planning a benefit to assist Nash with her the significant medical expenses that had accumulated from her heart procedures. Little did they know she would be facing yet another challenge.
"The Lord spoke to our hearts to do this for her," said Tigner.
The benefit will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday July 22, graciously hosted by the Church at Covington, with the Rev. Hezekiah Benton of Bethlehem Baptist Church presenting the service.
"It's overwhelming," said Nash. "I am so grateful for Pastor Tigner and the community.
I never imagined that anyone would be thinking, 'OK, let's do something for her.'"
Though she experiences daily chest pains and feels frustrated at times about getting tired so easily and having so many health problems at such a young age, 51, Nash maintains a positive outlook.
Because they caught the cancer at an early stage, she said, she will not have to do a mastectomy and will have radiation treatment for eight weeks.
Nash is scheduled to go into surgery today but expects to be back home by Sunday for rest and recovery.
Though she misses ministering and fellowshipping with her congregation at Flat Rock Baptist, she told them not to worry about her.
"If God decides I'm not healed on this side, I'll make it to the other side; there I will be healed," she said.