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Dialogue: Black Family Cancer Awareness (Part 2)

June 17-23, 2021, is National Black Family Cancer Awareness Week. We invited Col. (Ret,) James (Jim) Williams and with his wife, Lois Williams, to speak with Billy Foster and his wife, Renee Miles-Foster. Together they will discuss how a cancer diagnosis affects a family unit, the importance of knowing your family history, and so much more.

Billy Foster, pianist, composer, educator, producer and renal cell carcinoma survivor and advocate, hosts The Billy Foster Jazz Zone Radio show with his wife, Renee Miles-Foster, singer, caregiver, and now patient advocate. The radio show offers Northwest Indiana and the Chicago–land audience jazz retrospectives, artist interviews, and key health and preventive care and resources.

Mrs. Miles-Foster became caregiver for her husband when he was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma in 1996. In 2007, the cancer metastasized to his lungs, liver, and brain. The following year, Foster entered a clinical trial, and he credits that trial with saving his life.

The Fosters have been active in the cancer community. As African Americans, they have a special interest in the health disparities. They are both members of the American Association for Cancer Research, the Kidney Cancer Association, and the Patient and Family Advisory Council at the University of Chicago. They have participated in multiple educational videos and documentaries on living with cancer. They attend many cancer conferences and continue to perform at concerts, events, and programs while disseminating cancer information. “It is my hope that I have been a help and a blessing in the lives of others,” said Billy Foster.

Col. (Ret.) Jim E. Williams is the principal of Jim Williams and Associates in Camp Hills, Pennsylvania. Married to the former Lois Collins, wife, mother, homemaker, caregiver, and advocate; Col. Williams specializes in human resources management, prostate cancer awareness, education, and advocacy. In 1991, Col. Williams was diagnosed with prostate cancer and has been making a difference in the communities along with his wife for years.

Mrs. Lois Williams was a vocalist and soloist with various Army and civilian choirs in Germany and the United States. She retired as an office manager of a computer software firm. Prior to launching Jim Williams and Associates, Col. Williams was the operations manager, human resources, Penn State Geisinger Health System – The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania. He retired from the United States regular Army as a full colonel.

Col. and Mrs. Williams now reside in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, and are enormously proud of their three children and two grandchildren.