Southwest residents gathered to learn important information, receive free materials and sign up for mammograms, as well as share their personal stories, at the first Breast Cancer 101 event on July 11. Courtesy of Jasmine Campbell 

By Southwester Staff

On Monday, July 11, the Thelma D. Jones Breast Cancer Fund (TDJBCF), in collaboration with James Creek Resident Council, Syphax Gardens Resident Council, GOODProjects and the Southwest Business Improvement District (SWBID) hosted Breast Cancer 101 at River Park in Southwest DC. Funded in part by a generous grant from the Friends of Southwest DC, the event was intended to meet the community’s growing need for answers around prevention, adherence, treatment, genetic testing, available resources, and support. 

While Breast Cancer 101 is the first event of its kind, the collective effort to host this year’s Southwest Earth Day celebration and resource fair in April 2022, where several residents expressed a need for support with their diagnoses, was the inspiration behind the successful event. The topic hits close to home for several of the participants who knew that  “early detection saves lives.” For that reason, it was important that a partner like Georgetown Lombardi Capital Breast Care Center, represented by Patient Navigators Rhonda Hamilton and Tyra Hopper, distributed literature and registered attendees for free mammograms. 

With over thirty women in attendance, many survivors themselves, stories of struggle, treatment, and triumph were shared by Southwest breast cancer survivors Jenelle Leonard (triple negative), Deb Hodge (young survivor), and Linda C. Brown (caretaker for her physically challenged daughter). From age thirty-four to ninety-two, survivors and those interested in prevention introduced themselves, played trivia games for prizes and shared a meal with each other. The keynote speaker was Dr. Lucile Adams-Campbell, Associate Director for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research, Senior Associate Dean for Community Outreach and Engagement, and Professor of Oncology at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center. She conducts lifestyle interventions related to breast cancer and metabolic syndrome and conducts large epidemiological cohort studies including the Black Women’s Health Study. 

For collaborator Jasmine Campbell of GOODProjects, Dr. Adams-Campbell was the perfect speaker for the event. “It was important to bring a thought-leader like Dr. Adams-Campbell to the event. Not only because of the degree of insight she has on minority health, particularly Black women’s health, but also because she looks like many of today’s participants. That aspect makes what she’s saying that much more relatable for the participants, most of whom are also Black and struggle with the similar health disparities,” said Campbell. 

According to Thelma D. Jones, Founder, TDJBCF and lead collaborator, “the Breast Cancer 101 effort will continue until we have reached the key areas of our community. The TDJBCF is infinitely grateful for the support of the collaborators, the funding support from the Friends of Southwest DC, River Park Management, and Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.” 

Plans are already underway to continue with a follow-up event in the fall. To participate in future breast health sessions, please email thelma@tdjbreastcancerfund.org call (202) 251-1639 or visit www.tdjbreastcancerfund.org

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