Kids II

2011 Pink Power Mom Stories

Jocelyn Banks

Cincinnati, OH
Children: Nayilah; Yajee (niece/custodial daughter), Deja (niece)
Stepchildren: Makenzi

Jocelyn turned 25 on September 10, 2002, and on her birthday received a call that confirmed her breast cancer diagnosis. From her diagnosis in 2002, Jocelyn had the calling to give back. She joined the Pink Ribbon Girls and helped establish Sisters Network Cincinnati an Sister Network Dayton. With the organizations she planned and executed large community events such as fundraisers, health fairs, screening programs and educational programs target toward the African American community. She also joined the Department of Defense’s Breast cancer Research program and co-founded the Breast Cancer Fund of Ohio. Four years after her first diagnosis the cancer was back, but she continued to stay involved. Her story even landed on thousands of boxes of Kellogg’s Eggos® during its breast cancer awareness campaign.

Today, Jocelyn continues her mission by accompanying patients to doctor’s appointments, using her gift of understanding “medical speak” to help educated and inform patients, organizing social events and fun activities for women in the midst of their treatments, sitting on the executive board of the Pink Ribbon Girl organization and creating and directing the Pink Ribbon Girl’s “Mommy Has Cancer Program.” Her footprint in the community will forever have an impact on what she called the “sisterhood.”

Rebecca Byrne

Framinghan, MA
Children: Emelia Giovannina Byrne

At thirteen weeks pregnant, Rebecca’s excitement and joy was quickly thrown a curve ball when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was immediately told to terminate the pregnancy and begin radiation, but she did not accept that answer. Rebecca sought a second opinion that saved her daughter’s life and gave her the treatment she desperately needed. She continued her fight and at 33 weeks delivered her beautiful daughter, Emelia.

Just a week after Emelia was born, Rebecca was already out fighting breast cancer with her community in the first annual Walk, Run or Crawl 5K on August 7, 2010. The walk was the first big event that Rebecca hosted with the "We Will NOT Lay Down 2 Cancer" organization, which she and her sister, Sarah, founded two months after she was diagnosed. All proceeds of the organization go to Jimmy Fund and the Dana-Farber Institute where Rebecca was treated and one of the nation’s top research and treatment facilities. The charity events have continued and Rebecca and the organization have single-handedly raised more than $30,000 for cancer research. Rebecca believed that you always have the power to changed you attitude, to help yourself and more importantly…help others.

Katherine “Cass” Brown Capel

Auburn, CA
Children: Ariana

Cass started 1987 with news that would suddenly change her life forever when she was diagnosed with breast cancer on New Year’s Day. While fighting for her life, Cass became highly active in charities and organization in her community. She joined the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery program in which she made house calls to newly diagnosed women with breast cancer, offering them hope and demonstrating the post-operative exercised to restore mobility to their arms. She also joined Save Ourselves Breast Cancer Resource Center - an organization that raises awareness and federal funding for research and provides support for women and men fighting breast cancer.

Cass facilitated many support groups over 17 years and is currently working with five groups today. Save Ourselves, with Cass’ support and recruitment of advocated, has been instrumental in helping to pass breast cancer-related bill that have had a lasting impact. Along the way, Cass went back to school to get a doctorate in psychology and most importantly gave birth to her healthy daughter at the age of 45 - thirteen years after she was diagnosed. Cass continues to be inspired ever day by watching the women in her support groups transition from newly diagnosed patients to survivors and victors.

Tammie Denyse

Sacramento, CA
Children: Therra; Tristan
Grandchildren: Keyari

Over the course of seven years, Tammie has undergone four surgeries, eight rounds of chemotherapy and more than 40 radiation treatments - all as a result of her breast cancer diagnosis. Although in a dark place while fighting, Tammie found a beautiful bright path to follow and continues to do so today. She focuses her life on helping others in every walk of life from her church and elementary schools to legislative offices and the California state capital. She is a preacher, a teacher and server of the community who believes that bringing people and charities together will maximize efforts and make more things happen through the power of collaboration. One of her most important feat was founding Carrie’s Touch, and organization that supports and advocates African-American men and woman battling breast cancer. The most important thing that cancer taught Tammie was to know her purpose in life. She has many talents and passions and her cancer journey has helped her bring them all together to serve men and women at one of the most vulnerable phases of their lives. She does it from the pulpit, the stage, in hospitals, in doctor’s offices, at school, at homes and at the state capital.

Sue Glader

Mill Valley, CA
Children: Hans

Sue was handed her breast cancer diagnosis just 13 months after she was handed her son, Hans. She knew then, more than ever, the importance of keeping Hans’ life on course. It was the need to keep him close and his life on track that inspired “Nowhere Hair.” She wanted to help kids like Hans navigate the potholes that come with cancer diagnosis in a parent or grandparent. So, Sue began writing. "Nowhere Hair," through a fun and powerful story, helps explain cancer and the loss of hair to children. She finished writing the book when Hans turned 2, but knowing the importance of being a mother, put the book on hold until he turned 10. The book now appears around the nation from book stores and hospitals to cancer centers and beyond. Through her book, Sue tries to give women who are faced with their darkest moments a way to communicate with their kids. She believes that the greatest gift is to be able to give, and she gives through her stories and book.

Maimah Karmo

Aldie, VA
Children:Noelle

In 2006, during her second round of chemotherapy to treat aggressive breast cancer, Maimah was asking “why…why was this happening to me.” She was going through intensive treatments and found herself raising a child on her own with her job and finances at stake. But, she pushed her fear aside and began to think about all the other women that had and will have cancer and wondered how she could help. She stopped asking “why” and started asking how she could make a difference. Through prayer and a strong vision, the Tigerlily Foundation was born to educate, advocate and help women before, during and after breast cancer. The Tigerlily Foundation, with Maima spearheading all efforts, continues to flourish and provide amazing donations to charities around the globe including a mammogram machine that was recently delivered to Liberia. Maimah continues to educate and support the community through speaking engagements, participation on panels and speaking on Capitol Hill. Through all the acts of the Tigerlily Foundation, Maimah continues her fight for education and funding of breast cancer awareness and research.

Diana Klunk

Hanover, PA
Children: Shannon; Ryan
Grandchildren: Lexis; Mya; Brogan

Diana knew she would beat cancer from the day she was diagnosed. She learned to draw strength from a place she never knew existing. As Diana fought her battle, she realized there were so many things that a woman could really use to maker her fight a lot easier and smoother. So, Diana opened Life Changes Boutique, a health and healing boutique for women living with cancer. Through this boutique, women can find the products, knowledge and support they need during and after treatment. Products range from hair loss solutions and compression garments to swimsuits and much more. Diana didn’t stop at the boutique, though.

She joined the American Cancer Society with her husband, a colon cancer survivor, and is also a supporter of Pink Out, established to provide financial assistance with non-medical expenses to breast cancer patients. She also helps host the annual “Pink Out” event which has raised more the $400,000 in the last five years and helps with the Pink Ribbon Challenge, a women-only golf tournament that benefits the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition. She believes that cancer gave her the opportunity to know what it was like to walk in others’ shoes and understand their needs, which enabled her to fulfill many of those needs.

Crystal Brown-Tatum

Shreveport, LA
Children: Laclyn

Just a month after her wedding, Crystal was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. Crystal was desperate for answers and searched for books that would give her insight, inspiration and help. Much to her surprise and disappointment. she could not find one book authored by a young black women in her shoes. So she decided to write one to ensure no one else would run into the challenge she once faced. And that is how “Saltwater Taffy and Red High Heels: My Journey through Breast Cancer” came to be. The book and her grassroots efforts to advocate for poor women battling cancer threw her into the media spotlight. She quickly became a regular guest on local TV and radio shows as well as national broadcasts like the Oprah show and Women’s Entertainment Television.

Crystal also supports and advocates the Sisters Network - the only national breast cancer survivorship organization for African-American women. Cancer forced Crystal to follow her dreams and her dreams quickly became reality with the launch of her book, grassroots campaigns and support of the Sisters Network. Crystal believes that your past pain is a future testimony and you should share your story and encourage someone. Crystal has accomplished this and much more in her breast cancer journey.

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