November 15, 2022
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For the Breast of Us was founded in 2019 to help Women of Color who have been affected by breast cancer.
When Marissa Thomas was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35 in November 2015, she turned to social media as a way to find a group of people that understood what she was going through.
This was new to her — she had always been a kind of private person — but she hoped that finding, connecting with, and listening to women who were having similar experiences would make this journey just a little bit easier.
Still, it was hard. And she struggled to balance the realities of how breast cancer was affecting her with a desire to stay positive for others around her. So, after talking with a close friend, she eventually decided to be brutally honest publicly in order to show what breast cancer is really like.
From there, she decided to take it one step further and co-founded For the Breast of Us in May 2019 with another breast cancer survivor. The organization aims to provide a resource for other Women of Color diagnosed with breast cancer, currently fighting it, or are survivors of breast cancer.
Thomas wanted women like her to have a place where they could search for stories and see images of women who not only shared the same battle with cancer but also looked like them. And she wanted to empower them to take charge of their lives and health as they started — or continued — this journey.
Using her background in healthcare administration, Thomas helped create the organization to be a one-stop-spot where Women of Color could go to learn about how best to navigate the healthcare system, get help coping with their diagnosis, and, as she puts it on the organization’s website, “continue living your best life, regardless of the circumstance.”
She also wanted the organization to be a place of advocacy. After all, Women of Color are disproportionately affected by breast cancer.
Black women are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women are, yet they’re only included in 6.2% of cancer clinical trials.
Hispanic and Latinx women are also missing from trials, representing only 2.2% of participants, while Asian and Pacific Islander women — a demographic that has seen a steady rise in breast cancer diagnoses — only represent 3.3% of clinical trial participants.
The stats above are why For the Breast of Us has organized a number of events for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and beyond.
Some of their events include:
They have also started working with “Baddie Ambassadors,” Women of Color who have been affected by breast cancer and want to get involved with social media advocacy by sharing their stories.
“I run for all the women and men impacted by this disease whose strides were halted by its devastation,” said Latoya Cauley ahead of the sneakers gala event. “I run for my four daughters who now have to have mammograms starting at the age of 24 because of my diagnosis at 34.”
Women of Color are disproportionately affected by breast cancer, and because of this, it’s even more important to raise awareness and provide support for each other.
Organizations like For the Breast of Us are a valuable resource to learn about breast cancer, get support, and connect with others who are going through similar journeys — and also share the same experiences as other People of Color.
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