Paulette Leaphart finally arrived in Washington D.C., after setting out on a mission to walk from Biloxi, Mississippi, to the nation’s capitol to talk about health care reform and raise breast cancer awareness.
The breast cancer survivor set foot in D.C. on June 27, just under two months from the day she left home on April 30, ESPN reports. She was determined to make the 1,034-mile journey to talk about the need for affordable health care.
Paulette, who underwent a double mastectomy following her 2014 diagnosis, made the entire trip topless. She made it a point not to hide her scars in order to call attention to the realities of battling cancer and how hard it is for ordinary people to pay for life-saving treatment.
People all over the United States have been following her courageous mission for months, including Beyoncé, who invited her to appear in her visual album, Lemonade.
At first, Paulette was hesitant, but she eventually came around to the idea and received a very warm welcome and high praise from the diva herself.
“She said I inspired her — that she admired me,” Paulette told ESPN. “It was great to hear that. I asked her to join me for a block of the walk, and she offered to join me for a mile.”
Since her past situation is not unique, Paulette also took time during her epic march to share the stories of other people in need of treatment who are struggling to afford it.
Her long journey came to an end this week just as she marked her 50th birthday. Having reached her destination, Paulette made her way to the U.S. Senate decked out in yellow. “What a way to spend my 50th birthday … fighting for a change in America’s health care system. Where’s the cure!? #TeamJesus #1000MileWalk,” she captioned in a Facebook picture of herself, The Washington Post reports.
Paulette told News One’s Roland Martin she was inspired to take this powerful journey when she received a vision from God during her cancer treatment and recovery.
“God isolated me during my battle,” she recalled, explaining why it was ultimately a great thing for her spiritually. “I didn’t have family and the friends rally around me to support me and it bothered me. But it wasn’t until after God gave me this vision that he revealed to me that he had to isolate me.”
She added, “He needed me to hear from Him.”