Fourteen years (14) ago, my mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in Benin (West Africa). In July 1998, during a daily breast self-examination, she felt a lump on one of her breast and immediately went to se her gynecologist. After a clinical breast exam and later a mammogram, it was found that she had a tumor that has cancer. At the time, breast cancer was unheard of. Very little was known about it and breast cancer was a real taboo (a silent killer among women and non-spoken disease). When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer only two people knew she has breast cancer, my father and the doctor. I heard of her sickness only when I went to visit her in France where she was doing her chemotherapy. She traveled to Paris, France to get a reliable treatment at the Institute Goustave Rousseau. After nine (9) long months, my mother came out victorious and won her battle against breast cancer and is now a cancer survivor. During her stay in France for treatments, I went to visit her at IGR, Villejuif for four (4) days before heading to the United States to pursue my higher education. This was one of the most horrific scene, I have experienced in my life not because of the state my mother was in, being in the middle of her chemotherapy, but because of all the people coming to this famous cancer treatment center from around the world and especially from African countries, all diagnosed with breast cancer and all hoping to survive the disease. From that point on, I vowed to support the fight against breast cancer so a cure can be found in my lifetime.
In my effort to contributing to fighting and finding a cure for breast cancer, I invested in the cause physically by joining Susan G. Komen’s 3 day event and financially by buying every pink gadgets symbolizing breast cancer. In the same line, I have organized several events such as yard sales, Passionately Pink for the cure parties for ladies to raise money and awareness about breast cancer among my friends here in the USA. As an ambassador of the Susan G. Komen , the 3-day which is the boldest event for breast cancer, I walked countless miles to raise money in order to make my contribution in helping scientists find a cure through the Suzy G Komen foundation. So for the past fourteen (14) years, I learnt a lot about breast cancer, and keep up with most of the leading and latest researches in finding a cure for breast cancer. One of the noticeable facts and finding I made during my mother’s sickness to cancer, is the evidence lack of information about breast cancer in Benin, the social taboo surrounding the disease and how very little education are provided to women in rural communities about breast cancer.
In 2012, I joined and participated in the boldest event in the history of fighting against breast cancer, the Susan G. Komen “3-day” challenge. The “3-day” event is walking 60 miles in three days to raise money (nearly $2700) and awareness about breast cancer. The most concerning finding, I made while self-educating about breast cancer, comes from the statistics. Statistics revealed breast cancer is the second high rate death of cancer among black women of African descendants. My mother was privileged with the education and knowledge on how to self-examine her breast, what to look for and do afterward. It’s that education and knowledge about breast cancer, the early diagnosis and the financially blessing of my family that ultimately, helped my mother get treatments at one of the best cancer treatment center and came out a cancer survivor. Believe me, I do know and understand that many women in west africa are not privileged with education or knowledge on how to self-examine and look for abnormality on their breast, nor can they afford treatment in one of the most renowned medical and research center in Europe for chemotherapy and fight successfully against breast cancer. This fact brings me to the thought of women in most rural communities in West Africa and Africa in general where information and resources about breast cancer lack. That why I decided to create Zsquare4theCure foundation.