Jewelry collection

Cancer survivor Walasia Vinson thrives on her jewelry collection

As Walasia Vinson weaves each bead into a bracelet, she wonders who her next customer will be. The person may be a cancer survivor like themselves, or they may be in the midst of the battle they once fought.

Vinson was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012. After several months of treatment, she was cancer free. The problems persisted, however, and Vinson still felt ill. A CT scan showed three tumors, one of which caused extensive damage to his optic nerve, which led to Vinson losing his vision completely.

Although she lost her sight, it did not change her focus in life. Vinson wants to be a minister.

“I just want to give back to the community,” Vinson said.

She said her faith never wavered and her jewelry collection, Spirit of Beads, pays homage to God, knowing that it was his grace that helped her persevere. Her bracelets are “made with love and prayers”, some with a brown cross as a reminder of God’s healing power.

“It’s going well,” said his mother Sheila Harris. “We’ve given so many because people look up to Walasia, and she helps them stay strong. She says a prayer over all the beads before she puts them on. And even though she can’t see, she does everything.

Vinson sells necklaces, rings, key chains and more.

Harris said she was impressed with her daughter’s ability to stay positive given the struggles she faced at such a young age. In his spare time, Vinson volunteers at Hospice.

“She’s my warrior,” Harris said. “Every time I go out people ask me how she is. People tell me she inspires them. She gives them courage and strength. I know it’s nothing but the goodness of God. For some reason, God favored her.

Vinson is now 20 and her mother is trying to keep a positive outlook on her daughter’s future. Using modern medicine, Harris hopes doctors can develop a procedure that will allow Vinson to regain some of his sight. For now, Vinson challenges others to fight through adversity.

Sheila Harris waits for customer Amma McShaw as Sheila's daughter Walasia Vinson makes jewelry at their table outside Sims Grocery on Buffalo Street in Shelby on Friday afternoon March 4, 2022.

His mother learns to do the same.

“Technology is good, but the bad thing is wisdom is in the eye of the beholder,” she said. “I’ve spoken to so many doctors, but I’ve been her only advocate. She’s cancer free, but her symptoms never went away. Still, we look forward to what the future holds.

Colorful jewelery made by Walasia Vinson for sale at her table outside Sims Grocery on Buffalo Street in Shelby on Friday afternoon March 4, 2022.

Want to support Vinson?

Visit her Facebook page at Spirit of Beads or email

Latrice Williams can be reached at 704-669-3339 and

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