Tell us about your cancer experience
My cancer experience started with my mother’s breast cancer diagnosis when I was about 7 years old. This entire experience was devastating to my family. In the 1970s, the treatments for breast cancer were not as developed as the current options.
At 22, I lost my father and several relatives to cancer. These losses in my life made me painfully aware of the importance of preventative care and especially cancer screenings. In addition, I had a benign lump removed from my left breast during the same year. Due to my family history of breast cancer, an authorization was given for my first mammogram.
Several years later, I tested positive for the BRCA2 cancer gene. I remained vigilant regarding scheduling screenings and other recommended preventative measures.
In 2016, at the age of 51, I was diagnosed with DCIS Stage 1 breast cancer, SLE lupus and fibromyalgia -- all within 6 weeks. My cancer experience become a multi-condition treatment plan.
Several weeks later, I had a partial mastectomy and have been cancer free for 5 years. I am still under observation and schedule my follow-up appointments every 3-6 months.
Tell us about your work as an Ambassador
As a SHARE Ambassador, I work with healthcare facilities such the Ryan Health Center in Harlem, provide presentations on women’s cancer(s) and represent SHARE at health fairs and other events/workshops. I also speak to patients on mobile mammogram vans throughout NYC to answer any questions about breast health or refer them to other resources at SHARE.
Why is being an Ambassador important to you?
Being an Ambassador connects communities that have been historically underserved such as the Black and Latinx population. In addition, it allows me to also speak to the medical and healthcare community as an African-American breast cancer survivor and advocate. It is important to me that our voices are heard while our medical needs are being met. And it has been an honor to assist and support people when they are in need of resources and education provided by SHARE and our partners in advocacy.