My Family History
In 2003, my mother was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer and unfortunately lost her four-year battle at the young age of 52. Shortly after my mother's battle with cancer, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 53. He elected to have his prostate removed and is currently doing well. I knew that the odds were against me as I was born into three generations of women affected by breast cancer. After experiencing my mother's battle and witnessing my father deal with prostate cancer, I naturally believed I was next. I was scared. I had questions, and I needed answers.
It was then that I took immediate action. I reached out to my OB/GYN, updated her on my family history, and she suggested genetic counseling and screening for the BRCA genetic mutation. At the age of 22, my Myriad BRCA Analysis revealed that I was BRCA2 positive, a leading marker for the disease. I am unsure whether I received the BRCA2 gene mutation from my mother or father. The simple blood test I took empowered me to know my options and make informed decisions to reduce my risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Positioned for Purpose: The Work
Over time, my story has evolved from the hardest time of my life to discovering my life's purpose. I wanted to educate others and equip them with the tools and resources needed to make informed decisions regarding their own health. That is why I decided to volunteer in 2017 as a FORCE Peer Navigator providing personalized support. It is so rewarding to help others live their lives empowered.
While I volunteered, I also:
- authored "The Big Discovery” in 2018. The story of a breast cancer diagnosis serves as an educational tool to assist families and children in navigating through a breast cancer journey. This resource aims to help facilitate one of the difficult conversations a mother could have with her children to help them understand the importance of early detection, testing, and a breast cancer diagnosis. "The Big Discovery" is a resource for non-profits, hospitals, and other cancer organizations.
- delivered a TEDx Talk in 2019, where I I discussed The Generational Impact of Cancer: BRCA2 Positive.
- served on various health equity projects and committees in the African American population to help achieve optimal health by eliminating health disparities. We have to keep moving that needle!
My work is never done. It’s just beginning.