The Chesterfield-resident survived two bouts of cancer and she, like members of Omicron Zeta Omega, want their fellow women to be vigilant of their health.
Omicron Zeta Omega hosted its second annual breast cancer awareness walk at Arrowhead Park Saturday morning. Their mission to connect women with information regarding early detection of breast cancer and information the disease itself.
"I don't think women are fully aware of what is involved with cancer," McNeil said.
"A lot of women do not have mammograms — they think cancer won't happen to them."
Women face about a one in eight chance of sustaining invasive breast cancer and a one in 35 chance of succumbing to the illness, according to American Cancer Society statistics.
Breast cancer, the most common cancer women face in the United States has been diagnosed in roughly 207,000 new female patients in 2010.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death — taking the lives of 39,840 women in 2010 to date — behind lung cancer.
"It affects so many of us. I have a co-worker whose daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer and a grandmother who survived," said Carla Jefferson, president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's Omicron Zeta Omega chapter in Chesterfield and Marlboro counties. "It hits home."
Money raised leading to and during the walk help fund the National Breast Cancer Foundation, she said.
McNeil battled cancer twice — once in 1976 and unexpectedly in 2008 when the disease returned stronger than before.
"I almost made it 30 years," she said.
Shortly after attending the Democratic National Convention in 2008, McNeil discovered a lump in her breast she had not noticed before.
"I went to the doctor and they sent me to a surgeon in Florence — I thought it must have been really something ," McNeil said.
Cancer runs deep in McNeil's family.
Among her and her nine siblings, doctors treated seven for cancer; three passed away during their battles.
An ultrasound located the mass and a biopsy confirmed the news — stage three cancer.
"I tried not to think about it at first," said McNeil, who credits her family, friends and co-workers supporting her during treatment. "They made it so much easier."