Friend organizes race to remember WKU alumna

Zirconia Alleyne

“All I can say is: It’s done,” said Franklin native Tabitha Monique Briggs during a Herald interview nine years ago.

Briggs was speaking not of her bout with cancer but rather her step show performance with her Delta Sigma Theta sorority sisters.

It was Homecoming, and she was going to participate like everyone else. She placed second-runner-up for Homecoming Queen.

When Briggs was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 20, she was determined to live her life to the fullest.

“I want to help others who are in my situation,” said Briggs in 2003. “To give them hope and to let them know that they still can do things.”

While in the midst of a tiring battle, she continued to be the vibrant and outgoing girl everyone knew and loved.

Along with pledging, Briggs sang in Amazing Tones of Joy gospel choir, supported WKU Athletics and interned for the American Cancer Society in Bowling Green.

She spoke at colleges across Kentucky to educate students about healthy living and breast cancer prevention.

Briggs graduated in December of 2004 and succumbed to the disease on March 11, 2005, just five days before her 25th birthday.

“She kept telling me she was going to graduate from college, and she did that,” said Tabitha’s mother, Nadine Neblett. “She never gave up.”

It’s now been seven years since Briggs passed, and her sorority sisters are devoted to preserving her memory.

In 2010, Deanna Mills helped birth the Tabitha M. Briggs Memorial Scholarship fund through the College Heights Foundation. The scholarship will be available for females pursuing a bachelor’s degree at WKU.

Mills said she feels honored to lead a legacy in Briggs’ name.

“In light of how she lived, this seems so small in comparison,” she said.

Like Briggs, Mills said they wanted to find projects that impact the community and advance their cause.

On April 14, the committee will host the “I Remember Her” 5K Run/Walk to raise money for the TMB scholarship fund and promote breast cancer awareness.

Mills, an alumna from Glasgow and member of Delta Sigma Theta, said she didn’t know Briggs personally, but was inspired by the life she lived.

“Tabitha approached her health with enormous grace,” Mills said. “She was a shining example of leadership in hard times, and that’s a great message for anybody.”

Mills, who now lives in Georgia, worked with several of her sorority sisters to get the TMB scholarship fund and the 5K Run/Walk started.

Louisville alumna Candace Johnson said she remembered the day Briggs told her she had breast cancer.

“She said it like, ‘Don’t worry about me, I’m good,’ and we had to follow suit,” Johnson said.

Neblett said she knows her daughter is excited about the scholarship fund that her sorority sisters started.

“It lets me know how much she affected other people, and even though she’s not here, her name is still going on,” Neblett said. “I know she’s looking down, smiling and laughing.”

The 5K Run/ Walk will begin at 8:30 a.m. in Kereiakes Park.

Registration for the event is available at (Search ‘I Remember Her’) or on-site via cash or check. Registration is $25 for run/walk participants. Race T-shirts are available for participants who register before March 29.