Mercedes Wilson – October Cover
By Annette Pinder
Mercedes Wilson says her perspective on life and living truly began with her Stage 2 breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 28. Shortly thereafter, she appeared on the cover of the October 2012 issue of Buffalo Healthy Living with her young children, ages 6 and 10. This year, Mercedes will be celebrating her birthday on October 23, and she is cancer-free.
Mercedes’ cancer journey wasn’t easy. She was treated at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, underwent eight rounds of chemo, a lumpectomy, 45 rounds of radiation, and took medication for about five years to reduce the risk of the cancer returning. Chemo was brutal. She lost her hair, sense of taste, the ability to walk, sleep, or think clearly. “I maintained my faith by surrounding myself with others who helped me keep believing. I knew I’d have to fight, but promised myself to be grateful if I survived by making the biggest impact on the world God wanted me to make,” says Mercedes.
It didn’t take long for Mercedes to keep her promise. Realizing how little she knew about her own family history and genetics, she founded For Our Daughters, a non-profit organization that teaches young women the importance of knowing their history, speaking up, and advocating for their health. Reaching out and speaking to young women in middle and high schools throughout Western New York, the organization has impacted thousands of lives. The annual For Our Daughters Gala took place on September 30.
Mercedes has kept her promise to make her fullest impact by becoming a transformational speaker, author, television personality, and event emcee. She describes her first book, Hope: How Faith Carried Me Through My Darkest Hours, released in 2018, as an unfiltered raw love letter to God in which she shares the inner workings of her heart, while helping readers overcome obstacles and believe the best is yet to come. Her second book, Abnormal: We Have Been Fooled, released in 2020, encourages women to refrain from settling for less than they deserve. Her third book, Alone in a Crowded Room, released in 2022, focuses on the importance of taking time to reflect on, and listen to, what you are meant to do in life.
Mercedes has been featured in The Buffalo News, Black Western New York Magazine, Buffalo Healthy Living Magazine, Housekeeping Magazine online, and as editor of Upfront Magazine’s breast cancer survivors’ issue. A busy wife and mother of four, Mercedes continues to evolve and grow. She hosted a segment on the local ABC-TV affiliate, Channel 7 in Buffalo, NY sharing food and recipes, and the stories behind them. She also founded Sadie’s Foods, featuring Sadie’s Relish, based on a variation of her grandmother’s recipe, now sold in 126 stores throughout New York and Pennsylvania.
Above all, Mercedes’ family is her priority. Her children who appeared on the magazine in 2012 are now ages 21 and 17, and her twin girls are 9.
Mercedes spends time at the TV station planning, working, and engaging with the community. Mercedes also serves on the boards of several local organizations. She and her husband get dinner together, participate in the children’s sports, and help them with homework. At the end of the day, they enjoy relaxing and watching television.
Mercedes is grateful for her family, friends, sisterhood of cancer survivors, and many others, including John DiSciullo of WBBZ, who recognized her talent for television and reached out to Channel 7, which led to her popular segment and launch of Sadie’s Foods. Check out Mercedes’ recipes for Pulled Pork Tacos on page 45.
Above all, Mercedes says, “Don’t let a diagnosis or hardship discourage you from achieving your dreams or thinking life is over. It’s okay to feel what you feel. I had to accept that my life would never be the same after cancer, and get used to a new normal. My perspective on life is now different. I learned a lot about myself, and I am still learning. My best advice is to allow yourself to go through the range of emotions that come after breast cancer or any hardship, and tell yourself that you will win. Go after everything you were meant to do in life while cherishing every moment. And, know that we can disagree on just about anything, except love because love is non-negotiable.”
Learn more about Mercedes Wilson at www.mercedeswilson.com. Check out her recipes, and where to buy Sadies’ Relish at www.sadiesrelish.com, and follow her in the community at wkbw.com/7life.