MEMPHIS, Tenn. – There are many stories told during the month of October about breast cancer. However, there are also many survival stories.
Advocates say that with early detection and the right care, women of color can beat the rising odds and beat the crippling disease as well.
For Angela Perry Donnerson, it was a moment seemingly frozen in time.
“It was scary, very shocking,” Donnerson said of his November 2020 diagnosis.
She said she was at the doctor’s after making an appointment for what she believed to be low blood iron before the diagnosis was made.
Shortly after Thanksgiving in 2020, Donnerson found herself with few answers and battling a devastating disease that threatens to kill black women twice as fast as white women.
“When you hear that, the first thing you think of is you’re going to die,” she said.
This fear led her to find a community.
On Saturday afternoon, a community health fair was held, where almost everyone, dressed in pink, could get answers about breast cancer prevention, screening and what to do in case of diagnosis, held at Frayser, where few or none of these resources exist.
“Sometimes there are delays and they don’t know where to go for treatment,” said Dr. LaTonya Washington, president of Bluff City Medical Society. Washington is also the chief medical officer at Methodist North Hospital in Memphis.
“In communities of color, women have worse outcomes due to breast cancer,” Washington said. “Get your mammogram because it could save your life.”
Dr. Fedoria Rugless, program director at the Memphis Breast Cancer Consortium organized the event.
“We brought it here to Frayser…so people could have access to (resources). We have three goals here: to educate, empower and equip our people in breast cancer awareness,” Rugless said.
For Donnerson, October took on a special meaning because it is from this October that she has been cancer-free for a year.
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