Local jazz singer Shelley Million is in the fight of her life - literally.

This year, she was diagnosed with cancer and underwent a complete mastectomy. Her prognosis is bleak, but if courage alone were enough, Million would have won her battle against cancer long ago. Million is 52 years old.

"I am terminal. And I have doctors telling me I am incurable … but I'm not buying into that," Million says. "I am a very brilliant woman and have spent over 100 hours researching cancer … and looking for alternatives to add to her regular chemo treatments. I am always getting more information, always studying."

All of this costs money and Million - like so many people - has no insurance. With help of some generous donors and cancer-related associations, she has managed to cover her treatment so far. But more is needed.

Friends of Million are holding a fundraiser for her benefit on July 19 at the Capri Fish House on the Isles of Capri from 12-3 p.m. Tickets for the buffet dinner are $25 a person. A live auction is planned, with free paddleboard and kayak use during the benefit. All money collected will go toward Million's recovery efforts.

Million is also interested in starting her own foundation, which she plans to call Help for a Million. Her rallying cry is "Three for Free: A sonogram instead of the limited capabilities of a mammogram, a biopsy and a breast health navigator, a professional to guide the patient through the process, should be available to all women, no matter what their income.

"It should be like the AIDS test — automatic. A procedure to keep us alive," Million says.

Dissemination of information would also be a key component.

"Women are not aware of alternative treatments. I don't want them to have to do a hundred hours of the research. I've already have done that," she says. "When you are in the fight of your life, question everything, don't rely on just one source of information."

Anyone interested in donating money or getting involved in Million's foundation, should contact her by e-mail: All skill sets are welcome.

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