This entry was written by Darlene Shorter, president for a breast cancer support group for African-American women, Sisters On A Mission:
I celebrated the eve of my 39th birthday in the hospital recovering from a double mastectomy. During this time my mother was fighting for her life and lost her battle halfway through my treatments. I knew that my life would never be the same without her, but what I didn’t know is that God had a plan for my life.
Last month, I was able to live out my dream of being a star for a day when I participated with 24 other unique breast cancer survivors in a photo shoot for White House | Black Market. I never thought I could ever find that much joy and gratification after losing my beloved mother. I knew she was there with me at the photo shoot saying “That’s my Doll,” a childhood nickname only she could call me.
As the president of Sisters On A Mission (SOAM), an African American breast cancer support group located in Newark, DE., my sisters of the organization are so supportive of each other. They were so proud that I represented them in the WH|BM breast cancer awareness month catalog. My experience with a support group such as SOAM has enhanced my education and awareness of disparities in minorities in our area and all over the country.
According to the American Cancer Society:
African-American women are 25% more likely to be diagnosed with non-aggressive breast cancer while white women face a 30% chance of being diagnosed with non-aggressive breast cancer. However, survival rate is only 77% in African-American women compared to a 90% survival rate for white women.
These statistics are the driving force to our mission. We want to provide a safe place for African-American women to receive and give support in the struggle to survive breast cancer and live a quality life. Our goal is to remove the fear of recurrence from women, their families and their friends. Our objectives are to provide support for African-American women with breast cancer and to become involved in a partnership with African-American communities through outreach and educational awareness programs.
We have had the opportunity to partner with LBBC in efforts to share needed information by assisting one another in events and educational forums. Every experience with LBBC staff and members has been positive and filled with excitement and encouraging words.
Thank you LBBC for caring and allowing us to join forces in this fight! My life’s motto: IF I CAN HELP SOMEONE, THEN MY LIVING IS NOT IN VAIN.