Niven shares walk of faith through cancer

Published 4:27 pm Monday, May 23, 2011

June Niven holds photos from before her cancer treatments. (Contributed)

By SHELBA NIVENS / Community Columnist

After June Marie Niven’s cancer diagnosis, the oncologist walked into the room where she and her husband, Chelsea Mayor Early Niven, sat, looked at her and said, “Oh, that long hair.”

“I knew right then,” said Niven, “that I was going to have to have chemo.”

After losing her hair, she wore a wig, which looked much like her own long, thick blonde locks. But her own hair grew back baby-soft and snowy white.

“But when you go through something like cancer and chemo, you find out that a lot of things don’t matter,” she said. “What I used to think was so important doesn’t really matter anymore.”

Her family didn’t want her to color her hair, so she left it white — and teased her husband about not wanting her to look younger than he does.

“We don’t realize how conformed to this world we have become,” she said. “But we can always be transformed by renewing our minds in God’s Word.

Niven points to Joshua 1:9 as a verse that helped her: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

The prayers of her husband and others helped, also, to alleviate her fears, she said.

When invited to share her story at churches and other gatherings, Niven often takes along several women — also cancer survivors — to share their stories. Their Scripture theme is Nahum 1:7: “The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knows those that trust him.”

“We are thankful for each day and put our trust in God,” she said. “No one knows what tomorrow will bring — death, illness, divorce, financial stress — but if you know that God holds your tomorrows, then you can trust Him to see you through your day of trouble. Knowing the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior guides you through troubled times.

“I praise God every day for my cancer-free scans,” she said. “I also pray that God will bless those doing the research on cancer to find a cure.”

She’s thankful, she said, for organizations like Relay for Life, which made $75,000 for research at the recent marathon at Chelsea High School.

Niven said she would not have picked to have cancer, but would not trade her walk of faith with God for anything.

“My life now is the most awesome journey of faith.”

Shelba Nivens can be reached by email at