By Dr. Sybil C. Mitchell, Special to the New Tri-State Defender
“I guess I discovered a secret that really is no secret,” Doris Hill told those gathered at Southwind Country Club for an event hosted by PWAP – Pink With A Purpose – a non-profit offering support and resources for cancer patients.
What’s the “secret?”
“Whatever may be your challenge, you and I must fight the tendency to allow our trials to consume us,” said Hill, boiling it down to the bottom line.
Hill provides professional support services for adults who need tutoring and mentoring. It’s one of the ways she returns the kindness and compassion others have directed her way during some very difficult days.
“I have beat cancer twice, and today I am cancer-free. I’ve survived a heart attack, and right now, I need a heart transplant,” said Hill to the PWAP attendees.
“If we want to live, we have to act like we want to live. We can’t sit around waiting to die. Live every minute that the Lord gives you breath” Hill told PWAP attendees.
In 2002, Hill and her husband, Pastor Alfred Dwayne Hill, served the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church as leaders of a dynamic and growing congregation. In addition to her support duties as a pastor’s wife, Hill was a corporate executive at Kraft Foods, making six figures annually and the mother of their only son, 14-year-old Alfred Jr.
During a late-summer, mini-vacation to New Orleans, Dr. Hill dropped his wife off at their hotel and said he would be back shortly. When police showed up at her hotel door, she knew the news could not be good.
“Are you Mrs. Hill, wife of Alfred Dwayne Hill?”
“Yes, I am.”
“We regret to inform you that he is deceased.” Mr. Hill’s death was associated with a robbery.
Hill walked through the tragic life change with the support of friends and loved ones. And, she said, “Without the Lord, I don’t know where I would have been. He was the One who held me up in my time of grief.”
After nearly 17 years, Hill still misses Dr. Hill. Part of his legacy in ministry has lived on in her life and the life of the children being helped.
“Mark Twain said the two most important days in a person’s life is the day they were born, and the day they figure out why,” said Hill. “I am so grateful that a year before my husband was tragically killed, I figured out my ‘Why.’ The Lord wanted me to plant the seeds that became the ESPN Academy, our after-school program for students on all grade levels.”
The ESPN Academy is rooted in her late husband’s strong belief in education as an avenue for lifting children out of poverty and providing them with more opportunities. Hill now is conducting a fundraiser for the academy. To contribute, visit Doris Hill on Facebook, or call the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church office at 901-775-0040.
(To volunteer or donate to PWAP, call 901-336-4414)