MY LIFE Matters - 19

Q: Do you support the black breastie community? If so, in what ways?
(Side note: I HATE the word breastie because it makes
something horrible that destroys lives sound cutesie). I
support them in the way that I share social media on my
networks and send people there for support - but otherwise
I don't feel like it's my place unless I'm asked. I've seen
white friends try to get involved in different ways - but for
me - I just don't feel like it's my place, and there's nothing
wrong with that. I never want to come across as having
a white savior complex or like Black people with breast
cancer can't rise without me, that's not an ally - that's a
gatekeeper, something I'm not and will never be or support.
I'm here to speak and raise my voice if asked, and to raise
the issue of Black mortality when a black voice isn't present
to do so - but speaking on behalf of a community as a solo
advocate and speaking for a community when someone is
readily available and the interviewer is open to more than
one perspective are two different things. To be honest - the
majority of my "speaking on behalf of " engagements have
been much more for the LGBTQ+ community since college
because in the very conservative communities I've been a
part of - that's where I've seen the biggest need to have my

Q: What is your full diagnosis?
A: I was dx with stage IV ER+/PR- HER2 - , IDC,
metastatic Breast cancer in May of 2013. My metastatic disease is in my bones.
Q: Do you have black MBC friends? If so,
what type of conversations have you had
to better understand their experience as
a black MBC thriver?
A: I have current relationships with a community of
black MBC thrivers. Having been in the Metastatic
advocacy space for going on 7 years now, I have had
many opportunities to engage in rich and educational conversations with them, tackling issues of
social determinants of health and health inequities.
Q: As a white woman who has metastatic
breast cancer, is it important for you to
stand with your black MBC thriver friends?
What does "standing" look like in your

Metastatic and Black

voice present where that community isn't even welcomed
or seen as less than. I was even reprimanded at my college
for speaking up for LGBTQ+ rights.
Q: How can other non-black people get involved
with ending systemic barriers for black women
and reduce the mortality rate for black women
with breast cancer today?
A: First - stop talking, start listening. Quit telling the
Black community what they need unless you have real data
behind you, otherwise just listen and help share messaging when you can. I think some white people think that
to acknowledge the greater mortality in Black women
means they are throwing away their chance of survival.
They don't see equalizing as one stat coming down to be
flush with the other - they see it as sacrificing more people
in their demographic for fear they will no longer be studied
because now the only people who will be studied are Black
women. I think in general - real teaching about what health
equity is - and teaching that you won't be denied a new
drug being researched regardless of skin color is important.
The messaging needs to not focus on "me - not you" but "me
and you" and how we can help close gaps together.

daily life?
A: Standing with my black MBC thriver friends, means
addressing their issues, and being a voice for them to the
white identifying population.
*	 I stand with them by joining in initiatives that are
important to them, like barriers to clinical trials. I
stand with them by telling their stories.
*	 I stand with them by not joining any committees,
research groups, initiatives unless they are asked to
also be at the table.
*	 I stand with them by removing myself from the table
and allowing them to have a seat. I stand with them
by showing up for them in every way that I can.
*	 I listen.
*	 I learn.
*	 I put actions to my words.
Q: Do you support the black breastie community? If so, in what ways?
A: Yes, I have a vested interest in the black breast community for several reasons:



MY LIFE Matters

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MY LIFE Matters

MY LIFE Matters - Cover1
MY LIFE Matters - Cover2
MY LIFE Matters - 1
MY LIFE Matters - Contents
MY LIFE Matters - 3
MY LIFE Matters - 4
MY LIFE Matters - 5
MY LIFE Matters - 6
MY LIFE Matters - 7
MY LIFE Matters - 8
MY LIFE Matters - 9
MY LIFE Matters - 10
MY LIFE Matters - 11
MY LIFE Matters - 12
MY LIFE Matters - 13
MY LIFE Matters - 14
MY LIFE Matters - 15
MY LIFE Matters - 16
MY LIFE Matters - 17
MY LIFE Matters - 18
MY LIFE Matters - 19
MY LIFE Matters - 20
MY LIFE Matters - Cover4