WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Tuesday morning, we received a press release via email from the Family and Friends of Natalie Williams saying that the former candidate for Ward 8 D.C. Council was diagnosed with breast cancer. The message says that the cancer was found after a mammogram test and three biopsies.

According to the release, 41-year-old Williams will have double mastectomy surgery on October 2 and is being treated at George Washington University Hospital. After the surgery, she is expected to stay in the hospital for four days.

Williams released the following statement:

"The news of being diagnosed with breast cancer has been devastating to me, my family, and my friends... In spite of it all, I am keeping my faith that God will pull me through this personal challenge. I am forever grateful to my mother for insisting that I go and have my first mammogram. Today, I am doing my best to stay focused and move forward. I remain committed to my current client and projects."

According to the release Williams is sharing the diagnosis in order to help other women, particularly young African American women: "...I am deeply concerned about the disparity between Caucasian women and women of color when it comes to being routinely tested. What about my sister who doesn't have health insurance; my sister who hasn't been educated about breast cancer and how early detection saves lives; and unfortunately, my sister who simply does not care. Collectively, we must do more."

If you wish to send cards or flowers to Williams while she is in the hospital, you can send them toGeorge Washington University Hospital c/o Natalie Williams, 900 23rd Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037.

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