By Southwester Staff

The past three support group meetings of the Thelma D. Jones Breast Cancer Fund (TDJBCF) continue to inspire good attendance as well as welcome qualified speakers who bring a wealth of knowledge, information and resources related to breast health, prostate and colorectal cancer, physical activity, caregiving, COVID-19, and other aspects of healthy living and prevention. Still hosting meetings on Zoom and Facebook Live, the TDJBCF reaches participants in multiple states, including Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, and California, among others, as well as Mexico and Spain. Recordings of past meetings are available to view at https://www.facebook.com/TDJBreastCancerFund/

With several TDJBCF support group members suffering recent losses of loved ones, the January meeting not only celebrated the advent of the new year, but also embraced a discussion on advocacy, grief, and loss. 

In celebration of Black History Month, the TDJBCF hosted two meetings in February, including the regular monthly support group meeting and a history-making program with community partner the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA). The first gathering focused on breast cancer in men, men’s health, mental health, and COVID-19, with a special thanks to the SWBID who sponsored the meeting for the second consecutive year. 

For the second event, the TDJBCF co-sponsored a celebratory program with SWNA and welcomed with rave reviews a community-wide Black History Month celebration which was first created in 1987 by TDJBCF Founder Thelma D. Jones. With the participation of the Richard Wright Public Charter School, the program addressed the 2022 Black History Month theme “Black Health and Wellness.” Former long-time Southwest DC resident Carla D. Williams, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health and Interim Director of the Cancer Center at Howard University was the guest speaker. 

Thanks to Dr. Williams’ leadership, Howard University was the first major hospital in the region to become a community partner with the TDJBCF around 2011. The two remain close collaborators with the TDJBCF being recently invited to serve as a community partner in a research grant. More details will follow in a future edition of The Southwester. To view the Black History Month meeting, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWT1wMpXT3c .

The March support group meeting was a showstopper as it welcomed an array of dynamic speakers in celebration of Women’s History Month and Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month focusing on the theme “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” It was an exciting and diverse meeting uniting a wide range of professional women. 

“The compelling speakers epitomized the theme and took the audience on a journey that even I hadn’t expected,”  said TDJBCF founder Thelma D. Jones. 

Wednesday, April 20, will mark the celebration of the 12th anniversary  of the founding of the TDJBCF Support Group. The celebration event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and take place over Zoom and Facebook live. The guest speaker will be Cheryl Shaw, a two-time breast cancer survivor, advocate and philanthropist who will share her cancer journeys as she reflects on her career of over 30 years as a nonprofit executive. For more information, email thelma@tdjbreastcancerfund.org.   

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