KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An East Tennessee breast cancer survivor had five surgeries in eleven months. Donna Roland did it without losing her smile and sense of style.

“People just react different when you’re smiling,” she said. “A smile can say so much.”

 We first met Donna in her role as a Christian speaker and stylist at the Glimmers of Hope conference at Callahan Road Baptist Church. She’s an expert in showing women how to look and feel their best especially in the midst of a struggle.

“If you just make that effort and get up and I always say dress up, you don’t have to dress in your finest but I always tell people to dress in your best colors, dress for styles that, even if it’s just your sweatpants and a sweatshirt, at least let it be in your best colors,” she explained.

Donna practices what she preaches, keeping her style and that smile when she faced her own devastating diagnosis. A mammogram found breast cancer. It was during the height of the pandemic.

Donna had five surgeries in eleven months, rounds of chemotherapy, and the loss of her beautiful hair. She went through a lot in a short amount of time.

She said, “it is a lot, but I really believe that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, and my life verse has been, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ And there’s no way I could have gone through all that I have been through in the last year and a half without that strength.”

She stresses the importance of support from family and friends, and continues to widen her circle. After our interview, she was ready and willing to show some of the women at WATE their best colors to wear by using silk scarves with color wheels, opening our eyes to new colors we can wear.

We’re happy to say Donna is in remission and she encourages other women to do self-breast exams and get annual mammograms. Like many diagnosed with breast cancer, Donna does not have a family history of the disease.

To learn more about Donna’s wardrobe solution workshops, visit her website at