First Lady Erma Dozier (Courtesy photo)

Gardena resident Erma Dozier has been cancer-free 45 years. The First Lady of The New Earth Christian Church (TNECC) says, “Simply God’s grace and mercy.” As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month efforts, she will share her testimony on Sunday, October 31, during the 10 a.m. worship service.

“It was in 1976 that I was diagnosed. I was about to travel to Fairmont, West Virginia, my hometown, when I discovered a small cyst on my right breast. I went to the doctor to have it checked and a young doctor at Kaiser at the time said, ‘let’s just watch it a while and see what happens,” Dozier recalled.

Having listened to the young doctor, she made the trip, but when she told her mother about it and what the doctor had said, “My mother made me promise to see another doctor when I returned to Los Angeles. I did. This doctor was an older gentleman and his reaction was quite different.” He said, ‘make an appointment for next week and get in here as soon as you can.’”

“I made the appointment and long story short, they scheduled me for a biopsy. It was cancerous. My family panicked, especially my older sister, who is a registered nurse,” continued Dozier. “I told her not to worry, because it’s all God’s hands. She said, ‘But, you don’t understand. If it gets into your blood stream, it could be fatal.’

“The doctor said to me, ‘If we open it up and find it cancerous, we can’t close you back up without doing the necessary surgery.’ I told him to go ahead and do what was necessary,” Dozier remembered.  It was necessary. They performed a radical mastectomy (rarely, if ever, performed anymore).

Dozier had a successful surgery and hardly slowed down after it. She was planning to enroll in Los Angeles City College before the surgery and after it was over, she did. She had planned to be a bridesmaid in her sister’s wedding in Stockton, two days after her surgery. She made the trip and played her part.

Dozier knew of several women who had the same surgery around the same time that she had it and, sadly, most have died. “And I’m thankful every day that I live, because it was nothing that I’ve done. Again, I say, ‘God’s grace and mercy,’” insisted Dozier.

After getting back from the wedding, she continued her classes and it was in a speech class that she met her husband, now Pastor Larry Dozier. “He began helping me with my homework and the rest is history as they say! He had more than homework in mind all the time, I think,” she quipped.   Dozier’s surgery was complete and she never had chemo-therapy or radiation treatments.

Her advice to women is, “Please get your annual mammograms, do self-examination, pay attention to your diet and overall health. Take care of you. And if you discover a growth or anything unusual about your body, check it out ASAP. Don’t wait like that young doctor told me to do. I was going to request another doctor as I promised my mom, but I didn’t have to, he had been reassigned when I returned. Coincidence? Call it what you will but I call it the Holy Spirit at work.

“God has blessed me to, not just survive, but to thrive. He’s allowed me to live and share my testimony, and I shall continue to do so at every possible opportunity. And I shall forever sing his praises.”

The New Earth Christian Church is based in Gardena, California.  To attend the worship service via Zoom, log on at:

Meeting ID Number: 847 1149 7735    Passcode: 148839