Strong Faith= Strong Finish (HTLV-1) was identified — understandably so, as it was found to be prevalent in other parts of the world including Japan, Africa, South America and the Caribbean — not in the U.S. Known to infect T cells (a type of white blood cell), HTLV-1 is commonly transmitted through blood transfusions or breast feeding and can cause leukemia and lymphoma. Screenings for HTLV-1 in donated blood didn’t take place in the U.S. until 1988. In Jamaica those screenings started in 1989 — too late for a little girl born in that island nation four years earlier. I n 1980 the assassination of Beatles legend John Lennon and the eruption of Mount St. Helens grabbed headlines in the United States. Delivered with less fanfare was news that a virus known as human T-lymphotropic virus N ow 32 years old, Sandrine HollowayDavis recalls how she first learned she on her family’s farm in a rural, mountainous area of Jamaica. “We had a lot of land – always running up and down – always outside,” she recalls. “I always ate a lot of fresh fruit and enjoyed the fresh air. I never felt so poorly. They said pregnancy was the trigger. I learned many Jamaicans have the virus and are asymptomatic until something traumatic happens.” had HTLV-1. It was in February 2013 after coming out of a weeklong sedation following the emergency delivery of her first and only child at 29 weeks. It was an unbelievable result, as Holloway-Davis had always been healthy and physically active, even as a child growing up BY MICHELE FISHER I PORTRAIT BY JODY SOMERS Summer 2017 I Cancer Connection I 9