Community Welcomed to December Support Group Meeting

By Southwester Staff

The Thelma D. Jones Breast Cancer Fund (TDJBCF) continues to  expand its participation and leadership in research studies involving breast cancer survivors and other studies. 

It is currently in partnership with Georgetown University Lombardi Cancer and has completed research studies with George Washington University Cancer Center and Cancer Support Community,  among others.  At its recent support group meeting, which featured Howard University Cancer Center (HUCC) Interim Director Dr. Carla D. Williams, Associate Professor Medicine & Public Health, a major partnership was announced involving a research grant to create HUCC’s  Cancer Health Equity Research Center, (CHERC) a $4 million program that is being funded by the American Cancer Society. 

A key element of the CHERC is the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Community Council, whose membership includes the American Cancer Society, Nueva Vida, African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association, the DC Tobacco Coalition and the TDJBCF. The advisory council will evaluate JEDI’s efforts annually and provide leadership and guidance for overall work for the CHERC. The goal of the center is to deal with the deeply embedded social, economic and political issues that are the root causes of cancer inequities by conducting solution-based research to address these disparities locally and nationally.  

In announcing the partnership, Dr. Williams, a former long-time Southwest DC resident, provided an overview of HUCC’s 12-year relationship with the TDJBCF as a community partner, including being the first major cancer center to speak at the TDJBCF’s support group, efforts in helping to advance the careers primarily of Black women in the cancer space, facilitating a philanthropic relationship with the World Bank Group, and a long-standing association with The Southwester and its parent organization the  Southwest Neighborhood Assembly. 

Williams stated that Jones “is a voice to and for the community” and noted that “her (TDJBCF) newsletter and work with The Southwester have a global reach because these resources are available online for anyone to participate in and  enjoy” and that “the paper’s reach has helped to raise awareness about our work in our region and the local community.”  

Dr. Williams further noted that Jones is “an advocate for research participation, and that’s a rare attribute… She personalizes it and makes it accessible to people, which has helped to change the paradigm and shift the narrative around cancer, cancer research and cancer care”  by developing the  trust of the community and enabling them to speak  to each other,  “thus combining research and community voices to move into action.”  Jones will serve a two-year term on the council.  

Starting in 2023, the TDJBCF will hold a scheduled partnership support group meeting with HUCC while simultaneously building on the life and legacy of Dr. Lori L. Wilson, a former TDJBCF Board Member and advisor who was mentioned prominently during the partnership announcement. To see the HUCC partnership announcement, please visit For more on the life and legacy of Dr. Lori L. Wilson, please visit the November issue of The Southwester (page 12). You can follow HUCC on Twitter  for the most up-to-date information on their work. 

Looking ahead, each December the TDJBCF support group topics include children of breast cancer survivors (living or deceased).  Join the TDJBCF on Wednesday, December 21, at 6:30 pm via Zoom and  TDJBCF Facebook live as we welcome guest speaker Brea Hickson, Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) Survivor (metastasis) and advocate. Hickson will discuss IBC and the challenges of her misdiagnosis, the impact of her diagnosis on her life at a young age, the joy and challenges of being a spouse and a working mom with three young children and her advocacy work. A go-getter and world traveler, Hickson holds a BS in criminal justice from Old Dominion University and an MBA from Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA. She is married to her college sweetheart, an active-duty Army Officer and is the loving mother to her three children. Hickson enjoys spending time with her family, listening to music, cooking and traveling. She has lived in South Korea and Hawaii, climbed the Great Wall of China and has vacationed in the Philippines and Jamaica, just to name a few. The meeting will be emceed by Lashanah Thomas-Walker, a community activist and former Southwest resident who serves on the TDJBCF Board of Directors and has served as the TDJBCF Newsletter Editor for the past two years. 

Thomas-Walker holds a master’s degree from George Washington University in curriculum instruction and is currently pursuing her PhD in Sociology at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA, focusing on how the socio-cultural identities of Black women influence their college education by using standpoint epistemology. As the TDJBCF Newsletter Editor, Thomas-Walker has expanded her research and writing to oncology, health inequities, and wellness. Don’t miss the opportunity to see two brilliant young women share their passion and advocacy about cancer, cancer care and health inequities. For more information on the TDJBCF, please visit or call (202) 251-1639.

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