Welcome to the Tigerlily Foundation’s MY LIFE Program.
MY LIFE stands for Metastatic Young, Living in Focus, Empowered and is dedicated to young women, under the age of 45, living with metastatic breast cancer. This powerful program provides tools, resources, and support for women. Join our community on Facebook, Subscribe to our Podcast, Download our MY LIFE Guidebook and more to get started in our MY LIFE Program.
MY LIFE MATTERS:
A New Publication Announcement
MY LIFE Matters Publication Supported by Seagen
MY LIFE Matters: Power of One
Metastatic Young (MY) Living In Focus Empowered (LIFE)
By Maimah Karmo
I do not have words to describe all the emotions and impact that the past 12 months have had on the metastatic breast cancer (MBC), cancer and health care community. Covid-19 has exposed some frightening gaps that have existed, yet never reverberated as deeply in today’s world. The effects are still being measured and the impact is one that we will remember the rest of their lives. As a Black woman and a 15-year breast cancer survivor of triple negative breast cancer, seeing a best friend and many “Breasties” die of metastatic cancer during a pandemic, I found myself often bent over in tears and had many nights of prayer, meditation and conversations with God. Every prayer led me back to what I believe in… I have always believed that crisis creates opportunity and that the POWER OF ONE, one person, one community, one movement, one nation, one world and in one lifetime we can harness this power to BE THE CHANGE.
At Tigerlily Foundation our commitments to Health Equity to end disparities of Age, Stage and Color has been ignited with a light that leads the way to a bright future. This year we launched our ANGEL Advocate Program, Clinical Trials Programs along with our Inclusion Pledge; with these strategic initiatives, we are dismantling systematic barriers with the goal to end disparities in our lifetime.
We would like to thank Elephants and Tea for partnering with us in this fall edition of My LIFE Matters publication and being a part of that change.
In creating a publication that focuses on the people living with Metastatic cancer and the individuals, programs and opportunities that serve the MBC community, I could not be more humbled to walk with you and share your legacy, your story, your words. It is each of you that inspire me each and every day. I thank you for the opportunity to serve you and work together to create change.
Blessings, hope and much love.
Why Early Stagers (and Everyone) Should Learn about Metastatic Breast Cancer
“I found out I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and my doctor tried to reassure me that we caught it at an early stage. My doctor told me, if I do the right treatments, I can be a cancer survivor! What I want the most is to cancer-free and just go back to my normal life. I mean, I’ve heard stories and I’ve seen media reports that early detection saves lives, so I should be fine, right?”
One morning, Maimah Karmo felt a lump in her breast. Her whole world stopped. She knew that something was wrong, her body did not feel right. Her mother, a nurse by trade, taught her to seek answers and to be proactive about her health. After pushing for answers for six months, at 32 years old Maimah was diagnosed with stage 2, triple negative breast cancer. Like many women, she had to fight to receive the tests she needed to survive. At the time she was diagnosed, the recommended screening age for women was 45 and over. If she had not been self-advocating, the cancer may have progressed into stage 4 or worse…. Since then, Maimah has dedicated her life to ensure that all women have education, resources, and support in their journey through cancer. Like all women diagnosed with this uncertain disease, she doesn’t know what her future holds. This is why her life is a living legacy.
Metastatic Breast Cancer (mBC) is breast cancer that has spread beyond breast tissue and the surrounding lymph nodes to form tumors in other parts of the body such as bones, brain, liver, and lungs. If you have been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, it’s understandable if you don’t want to hear anything about mBC. It is also understandable if all your focus is on wanting to get through your treatments and adjusting to the shock of your cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, more than 150,000 breast cancer survivors are living with metastatic disease, three-fourths of whom were originally diagnosed with stage 1-3. You may feel a range of emotions and struggle to stay positive and hopeful that cancer will not come back. You may struggle to guide yourself through the medical system feeling scared and alone, fearing what might happen in the future.
The thing is, sometimes our fear can come to life when we don’t have all the information we need to take be vigilant and fearless advocates for our health. To benefit from advancements in research, testing and treatment, it is critical for all those touched by breast cancer to learn about the entire continuum of stages and possibilities, including mBC. Without access to correct information and timely treatments or clinical trials, your best life could be interrupted.
Metastatic breast cancer is the reality for far too many women across the world, many of these diagnosis’s can be prevented by early detection and treatments. Our mission is to one day see mBC as not a terminal disease but one that can be treated with a 100% success rate.
#MyLifeIsMyLegacy series by Tigerlily Foundation are the stories of people who are mBC, eBC and those who have not been diagnosed with cancer. These stories build a bridge of knowledge, love, faith and transformation that help us understand the impacts of breast cancer and provide guidance that will help generations to come. As Nunny Keyla Reece describes when she was first diagnosed with mBC, “It was very clear that people had a fear to talk about mBC. Even for myself, it was a scary thing to talk about.” But knowledge is power. As Nunny describes, “If you don’t talk about it, how will you gain the knowledge?”
Please join us as we launch our series of intimate vignettes. Share these videos and tag your friend using the hashtag #MyLifeIsMyLegacy.
My Life Program
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Wish Upon a Wedding is a nonprofit organization granting weddings and vow renewals for couples facing serious illness or a life-altering circumstance.
If you serve young women in the metastatic community and want to partner with us, please email email@example.com.