KINGSTON, Jamaica – Having been diagnosed with breast cancer 24 years ago, Jamaican Singer Carlene Davis empathises with women who have endured a similar experience. On March 8, celebrated as International Women’s Day, she performed at the Gospel Breakthrough concert in Birmingham, England.
The event raised funds for breast cancer awareness. It was organized by Pastor Martin John and his wife Dee, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.
Chevelle Franklyn, a fellow Jamaican gospel singer, performed alongside Davis who was accompanied by her husband Tommy Cowan.
“It is always a privilege to share and minister at events such as these. Initially, I wasn’t too keen on sharing my experience because of the challenges that comes with it, I needed time for this experience to sink in,” said Davis. “As I grew in strength in my relationship with the Lord, I try to make it happen once I’m available.”
There is a high rate of breast cancer among Jamaican women. Last September, the Jamaica Cancer Society reported that 60 per cent of women diagnosed with the disease in 2018 were between the ages 25 and 59.
According to that organization, 974 breast cancer patients were registered in Jamaica that year. There were 413 deaths because of the disease.
Gospel Breakthrough was something of a homecoming for 66-year-old Davis. Born in Clarendon, a rural parish in central Jamaica, she migrated to the United Kingdom in her early teens and lived for eight years in Reading.
Davis moved to Canada where she also lived for several years before returning to Jamaica in the early 1980s. She established herself as an artist with songs like Stealing Love and Like Old Friends Do.
In the early 1990s, Davis converted to Christianity