What is your cancer journey?
I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) in 1995. I was in remission for 19 years before the same type of cancer came back in the same breast. I was, of course disappointed but it didn’t defeat my spirits. I had a double mastectomy. Three months later I found out the cancer had metastasized to my lymph nodes. I had chemotherapy for a year and surgery. What we thought were 3 tumors had multiplied to 8. Again, I was not defeated. I opted not to do another round of chemo. I looked for a clinical trial to enroll in, not because it was my only option, but because it was the right thing to do for me. If I have a five-year shelf life, I want to fight this disease and am hopeful that through a clinical trial that I can find a treatment for others with TNBC, since there are limited options for treatment. I am currently in a clinical trial at MD Anderson and we are making some progress. If I don’t make enough progress, there is another clinical trial I can enroll in.
Why do you volunteer for Komen Dallas County?
It is important for me to be the face of someone with TNBC. I volunteer with Komen Dallas County because it is a premier organization with a special commitment to educating about and finding cures for TNBC. It feels good to have that level of commitment from an organization and am so thankful for the work of Komen. I also want to connect with women and try to get others to volunteer.
How long have you been volunteering?
It is difficult to know how long, but it has been a while. I began volunteering when I was first diagnosed and going through treatment. Then I took a break. I came back to volunteer because I knew I had an obligation to others. This chest of cancer is my testimony and I know I must promote breast cancer awareness in the African American community.
What do you do to volunteer for Komen Dallas County?
I really help anywhere that I am needed. I’ve volunteered at large events and small, but am drawn to events in the African American community. It is important for us to push screening so that we can have early diagnosis. I also do advocacy work. I am always contacting my local and state government officials to make them aware of legislation that would affect those in my community and those with my disease.
What is your favorite part of volunteering?
I really enjoy talking to women and trying to impart hope. I am a testimony to God and the power of medicine. I am a woman who is living with metastatic breast cancer.