SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Lasha Boyden was sworn in as the first black acting U.S. Marshal in the Eastern District of California back in February 2020. It was professional milestone for her, but in light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Boyden is opening up for the first time about a very personal milestone, surviving cancer.
“I was thinking how could someone like myself who was on a track scholarship, athlete, works out, eats well -- How could something like that happen to me at such a young age? I was in shock,” Boyden said.
It was October 2018 when Boyden, a mother to two young children, suddenly found herself in the fight of her life.
“I was laying in bed right after my 38th birthday, and I felt a lump in my breast. I went and got that checked out immediately. Unfortunately, it ended up being stage two breast cancer," Boyden said.
She was 38 years old at the time, and her two children were only three years old and 18 months old.
"When I was really struggling, I would have to go in the closet and cry so they wouldn’t hear me,” Boyden said.
Boyden underwent the so-called "big three" treatment: chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.
“Vanity and all of that goes out the window. It’s a humbling experience,” she said.
"I am a girly girl... I really do take pride in my appearance and how I look. So when I had to go through cancer and lose my hair and things that I take pride in as far as what I feel defines beauty, it was definitely difficult,” Boyden added.
Boyden kept working through the treatment, eventually making history by becoming the first Black female chief deputy U.S. Marshal for the district. She eventually pulled through the experience and became cancer free, which was a personal milestone that she said she'd never take for granted.
"I just want to encourage other women who are in this situation that there is life outside of cancer and even more...,” Boyden said.
She's now urging other women to not allow the COVID-19 pandemic to discourage them from scheduling an appointment to get checked, regardless of their age.
“Women out there, check yourself. Do your breast exams, and be encouraged. You will get through this. You can absolutely get through this,” Boyden said.