Dr. Grace Butler Promotes Health Education During Colon Cancer Awareness Month - March

2/14/2013

 A diagnosis involving the “C” word is not quite as scary thanks to the lay leadership of Dr. Grace Butler who advocates nationally for hope, healing – and prevention and wants to be of service to provide your church with life-saving information.

A member of Jones Memorial UMC, Dr. Grace Butler considers herself one of God’s miracles and she receives endless joy witnessing others win the fight against colorectal cancer. Grace experienced her life-defining moment more than 10 years ago. “I left my office at  the University aof Houston in tears because of excruciating pain on a Wednesday and was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer just days later – the following Tuesday.” Recalls Grace, “In my weakness and pain, I cried out to God to ask him what I could do for him through this new challenge in my life, and the answer was very clear in my spirit. He told me to Go Forth and serve his children who have been touched by cancer. I compare the experience to Abram’s  – who left for an unknown destination. My assignment was so clear that I never even went back to my office to get my personal items or pictures off the wall.” My life journey had changed forever. 

Once Grace had completed treatment enough to be on her feet, she knew she was destined to serve the underserved with education about the disease and its highly preventable nature, and to provide financial assistance. With only $55 available to expand a cancer ministry beyond the walls of her initial efforts at Windsor Village UMC, Grace was inspired by the Prayer of Jabez.  She asked God to enlarge her territory, which ultimately became a ministry named Hope Through Grace to assist the uninsured, underinsured and medically underserved.  “In those early days we referred to my kitchen as the national headquarters,” she says with a chuckle. “Then and now, we are preventing a preventable disease within the least among us.”

Acknowledged for Impact

We are excited to be named a Top-Rated 2012 Nonprofit,” she adds. “We are proud of our accomplishments, including providing more than 100 unscreened Houston area residents with no cost colonoscopies (valued at a minimum of $1,000 each). We are also thrilled that 2012 enabled us to debut our amazing colon cancer educational exhibit, the 20 foot Adventure Colon!” This is a fun and unique way to educate the community about colorectal health.

Following Your Passion

Learning ‘transformational leadership’ on the go, Grace watched God at work. “When I got my assignment from God, I had to quickly assess the skill set he had given me to prepare for this journey,” she says. She has since learned that transformational leaders must submit to God, educate themselves on necessary areas, and draw from their passion to sustain them in the face of an inevitable lack of support.

“Transformational leadership is about making a significant change in the lives of others (stamping out a preventable disease), it is about motivating and inspiring others; it is articulating a vision and having the tenacity of spirit to pursue that vision,” she explains. “God blessed me with the ability of excellence in public speaking, and I was determined to use that to transform the health community, beginning with Houston where we are indeed saving lives.”

When Grace acquired office space to relocate the organization from her kitchen, one of her potential funders chastised her for signing a lease for office space and predicted she would not be around by the time the lease expired. That was eight years ago. Grace notes, “Transformational leadership happens when someone lights a fire under you and challenges your ability to succeed. Jesus is our model for leadership and he pressed on when he was rejected because he knew his assignment and never turned back.”

She adds, “With Jesus as our example, transformational leadership involves using your resources with the excellency of Christ and recruiting people around you who are as committed as you are.” Other leadership lessons she has learned include:

  • always invite God on a daily basis to use you in his service
  • assess and evaluate regularly to recognize new opportunities
  • avoid seeing power as a hammer, but instead value those around you as partners, and seek partners who are as passionate as you are.

Hope Through Grace wants this March to be Different

Knowing that colon cancer is highly preventable, Grace is driven every minute of every day to change the statistics. Her fervor has landed her the attention of leaders of health agencies and onto high-level panels at national meetings. She has even given a presentation (and a Hope Through Grace t-shirt) to a President of the United States.  Grace pledges to go anywhere at any time to share the “From my kitchen to the White House” story and save more lives. To request a presentation or information, see www.hopethroughgrace.org.

She adds, “I would also love for Methodists across the conference to consider supporting the 8th Annual Colon Cancer Walkathon on March 23, 8:30am,  at Tom Bass Park III Pavilion IV, 15108 Cullen Blvd in Houston. “Whether walking or donating, we have many sponsorship opportunities year-round to truly save lives.”

Hope Through Grace (HTG), founded in 2002, is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization that has focused on colon cancer awareness and prevention since its inception.  HTG offers colorectal cancer education, screening for early detection, advocacy and other services that underscore the importance of colorectal cancer prevention. The mission of HTG is Eliminating Colorectal Cancer through Prevention and Early Detection.