Breast Cancer is #unacceptable
On October 23, 2013, Lisa Evans’ doctor said the words that no one ever wants to hear: “You have breast cancer.” Her journey began with a rash under her arm and a visit to a dermatologist, who told her that her lymph nodes were swollen. She went to her primary care physician, and then to her gynecologist, who directed her to a breast surgeon. After a core biopsy and aspiration, she was diagnosed with Stage 2A—her breast cancer was still contained in her breast and hadn’t spread to nearby lymph nodes. She chose to have a mastectomy with reconstruction, followed by chemotherapy.
Lisa knew that taking action quickly when something didn’t seem right, and then having access to the right care, made all the difference in the world to having a positive outcome. She didn’t feel that her breast cancer was a death sentence; rather, it was a calling—she wanted to find a way to share the importance of early detection, and do what she could to ensure that others would have access to quality breast cancer care.
Her best friend was already involved with Komen North Jersey and encouraged Lisa to sign up for our 2014 Race for the Cure that May. Lisa didn’t yet have the stamina to do the 5K walk, but she put together a Race team, TEAM POPPIN’ PINK TULIPS, and cheered them on from the sidelines. She and her team raised over $3,400. The following year, Lisa was able to participate in the walk. She recruited 65 team members and raised nearly $5,000. To date, Lisa has raised more than $13,000 for Komen North Jersey through her Race Team, her in-home events, and through the “AT&T Walk for the Cure” she started at AT&T to engage her work colleagues in her passion for the cause.
Lisa also wanted to do something about the lack of knowledge, and the lack of access to mammograms and quality breast health care, that she knows account for the higher mortality rate among African-American women in the U.S. She says that there are those in the Newark area community where she grew up who don’t get a mammogram because they don’t have the means, or lack insurance, or are without transportation. So she began a PINK SUNDAY program at her church to share her story and encourage everyone to get screened. And she knows that Komen North Jersey is always there, if someone needs help.
Lisa’s making a difference, right here. She’s raising money and awareness, and doing what she can to help eliminate disparities in breast health care.
“I want people to know that there IS life after breast cancer. And I want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to get screening, whether they have the resources, or not.”
African-American women are 41% more likely to die from breast cancer than Caucasian women in the U.S. That’s unacceptable. Lisa isn’t giving up, and neither are we. Help us meet our goal to reduce breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by half by 2026.