Credit: Contributed

On the subway, 50-year-old Ruby Collins had her guitar and son. There she practices her singing in front of commuters.

“Sometimes in life you got to be bold, daring and think outside the box,” said Collins.

Collins was born in Brooklyn and now raises her three boys in the city. Before pursing her dream of singing, Collins was a police officer for 12 years.

“I wanted to do something that I enjoyed,” said Collins. “Even as a police officer, I was singing. I became the singing police officer, and after, I sang at the White House for then president Bill Clinton. I need to really continue this journey and go after music.”

In those years, Collins had time for her family, music and ambition. She taught herself instruments and learned to play 10 instruments. In her alone time, the desire to share with others came to her.

“I heard a little voice saying, ‘You could always teach it and share it with the community,’” said Collins. “So, I opened up a school and started teaching people in my home.”

Today traveling, a music career and public speaking are all part of her life.

“It’s exciting,” said Collins. “Life is all about stepping out and doing what you love and what you were meant to do. With that, if you believe in God and a higher power, someone to guide us through our journey.”

Two years ago, she got damaging news that changed her life.

“I was sitting at my kitchen bar and I was on Facebook,” she said. “I was just replying to comments and doing all that fun stuff. I heard a little voice say, ‘You have a lump on your breast. Put your hand on your breast. You have a lump.’ I literally reached over, and I felt that I had a lump. I went to the doctor and I was diagnosed, and they said it was cancer.”

Having breast cancer hasn’t changed Collins’ fiery spirit.

“I’m a cancer fighter, and the difference between a cancer fighter and a cancer survivor is that a fighter is someone who chooses to do things naturally,” said Collins. “They have learnt a whole lot about how to heal the body naturally and that was something that I chose to do.”

Through this trail in her life, her eyes have been opened to cancer. She has created a website called “How Breast Cancer Changed My Life,” which gives people insight of her lived experiences with cancer.

Learning is the main encouragement she would give to people.

“I would like to encourage people to do their research, because we live in an amazing country,” said Collins. “We have so much amazing resources. We’re able to put men on the moon. We had our first Black president. Imagine all these amazing things that are happening in our country. Know that it is for you when you take the time to educate yourself, learn what’s happening in this world, and what you can do to heal your body.”