"Only that day dawns to which we are awake." -Henry David Thoreau
Her tired brown eyes finally slid into sleep. Exhausted from months in "limbo", Kenetta Renee Robertson succumbed to the anesthesia. She had no idea if months of chemotherapy or a shortened life awaited after the surgery. She was, however, certain God was on her side and had plans for her.
The only daughter of Oren and Pastor Sara Robertson, Renee told me, "My father implanted the entrepreneurial spirit in me, and having faith in God and His plans have been passed down for generations. I grew up proactive for social change. At ten, I marched four miles with my parents from Strom Thurmond High School in Plum Branch, SC to the Edgefield County Courthouse supporting the extension of parts of the 1965 Voting Act. I have an autographed copy of Jessie Jackson's book, I Am Somebody, and have had the pleasure of working with him through the years." At age four, Renee wowed the congregation of Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church with her first public singing appearance. This launched a continuous path of successes, including song and dance talents that lead to titles of Miss Statesman, Miss Paine College, Top 100 Most Influential Black Students Award, and Miss Black Georgia.
But Renee is not about titles. "What are you called to do? How do you reign? Act today on your God given talents!" The former National Director of Public Affairs and Media for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta moved to Hilton Head in 2006 on a " temporary" job, bringing her faith in God with her. "We love the Island, so we decided to stay!" said the member of Central and First African Churches.
Perky in her plaid chapeau, when we met, her sparkling brown eyes bubbled with renewed energy, and she admitted being fearful, yet prayerful, over her recent illness. Busy with her job and her daughter, Sariah, Renee did not have time for the challenge God gave her. "An annual physical revealed an enlarged uterus and abnormalities leading to a long series of tests. The stress of divorce, work, and suddenly, a health problem was incomprehensible. They thought I had ovarian cancer! Even after seeing a top gynecological oncologist in Atlanta, I kept trying to will it away! The doctor said he couldn't tell anything until after surgery. From March until May, I was in limbo. and denial. I did not tell my parents until shortly before the surgery at the end of May. A good friend told me I should stop my work on a tremendous campaign I had planned, and not even make future plans. I felt like hitting her, but know now it was tough love. My life was out of control, and this was God's way of taking back the helm. A life threatening experience makes us slow down and take a look at ...our lives," she recalled thoughtfully.
"The faithful life is never perfect. We always promise to get around to a dream when this and that are finished, or when our kids are grown!" The Founder/CEO of International Coalition of Queens (ICQueens), Founder of StartReigning.org, and Ovarian Cancer Alliance, based on Hilton Head Island, believes, "No matter the calling, people should begin today using ordinary things in extraordinary and miraculous ways to create a future." Renee is God's daily witness that "illness, mistakes, and failures can not destroy our faith in ourselves or God."
Renee's surgery revealed the mass was not cancerous! Still she championed the cause to make everyone aware of the "Whispering KiIler." At her daughter's ("my rock") insistence, they returned in August to start over on Hilton Head. "My life is in God's hands again. I would not change a thing. It's a blessing planning my days." And plan she did, proving the point we can do anything with God's help. By November, Renee, had coordinated and presented a highly successful fashion show to stress ovarian cancer awareness! Now the Agency Director for Doncaster, Renee concludes: "It is easy to outline your successes and achievements, but true victory and triumph is in rejoicing over our failures, stumbling blocks, and tribulations. Be most proud of your failures and wipeouts in life. It is within those moments of "overcoming" the odds, that our true rewards lie."
Childhood Nicknames: By her grandfather, P'Nut; her dad, Pullit;
at school, KeeKee
Thoughts: "Our value has nothing to do with accessories, it is internal." and "God knocks us down so we can re-build stronger."
More accomplishments: Appearances in Essence, Ebony, and Jet magazines. Quoted by major media outlets, such as CNN and The New York Times.
Look for: An upcoming event in April for