Breast Cancer Survivor Earns Three AA Degrees
Anyone who has met Rhonda Crayton will tell you she is a warrior.
This 40-year-old mother of two from San Bernardino is known across the San Bernardino Valley College campus for her infectious smile and positive attitude, which she credits with helping in her fight against cancer.
In 2014, Crayton was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, and immediately started chemotherapy and radiation. Her oncologist told her she wasn’t allowed to work while undergoing treatment, but she did not want to sit at home, depressed. “I said, ‘If you don’t let me go to school, it will make it worse,’ so he said I could go, but if I got sick I had to stop,” Crayton said. “I prayed about it, and asked God to cover me and let me go to school. This is now my sixth semester, and I have straight As.”
Crayton, who already has her BA in criminology, will earn her AA in human services, communication studies, and liberal arts, plus a certificate in case management this fall.
Her doctor gave her permission to return to work in October, and Crayton — mom to Jasmine, 24, and Tiffany, 20 — is now also involved in SBVC’s EOPS program, SBVC’s Honor Society, and her church. After she graduates this fall, Crayton would like to work at a high school or college as a counselor, helping young adults who need support and guidance.
“They need to know there is someone out there rooting for them, telling them ‘you can do this,’” she said. “I may also go back into law enforcement, as a probation officer, to help at-risk teens.”
Wherever she goes, Crayton takes with her the message that whatever curveball life throws at you, you should never give up.
“You never know what your purpose is, so I use my story to teach other people that you may think you have it bad, but someone has it worse,” she said. “I always say that if you have cancer, it does not have to be a death sentence. I am still here. You have to stay positive, and whatever your faith may be, find something to believe in. I was determined not to give up, not to let the cancer win, and that’s what I tell people — I have cancer, it does not have me. You can do anything if you set your mind to it.”