Earnestine Tolbert sits inside Colecuts Barbershop and Salon and shares her story as a breast cancer patient.
"I was diagnosed as on 11-11-11," she says. The diagnosis came as a shock to the 58 year old Grand Rapids resident, because her mammogram came back negative in July of that same year.
Since November, she's been fighting the disease aggressively with chemotherapy. Tolbert says on February 5th, her hair fell out as a result of the chemo.
"We say Lord, 'I trust you'. And sometimes he asks us, 'Do you really trusts me?' So I said ok Lord, I guess I have to trust your with this one, cause I don't know the reason why," she says.
Two of her sisters, Arlena and Joyce, are by her side. They’re getting ready to trade full heads of hair for their sister's clean-cut style.
"They are cutting their hair. They are going bald for me. That is ya know, a women's hair is her glory. That's the Bible. So for them to cut their hair and go bald for me, it means more than I can say, the love that I feel for my sisters,” Tolbert says.
"Any support that you can have while a loved one is going through these changes, going through the chemotherapy, cancer journey then show that support any way you can," Joyce Deans says.
Through her cancer journey, Tolbert says she's realized what God's mission is for her. “That is to be an advocate, especially for women of color here in the city of Grand Rapids, let them know about breast cancer, getting in their early,” she explains.
In addition to routine mammograms and self-exams, if something seems abnormal, Tolbert says, “When you find something, don't hesitate.”
So today, two of her sisters, Joyce and Arlena are cutting their hair to show their support for Tolbert.
The sisters got their hair cut by an organization called “A Gift of Angels Hair.” The group is organized by Valerie Stewart and helps people of all backgrounds find wigs, get haircuts and get support services they need as they fight cancer.