As the 2017 Susan G. Komen 3-Day season quickly approaches, we are busy gearing up for another amazing year! We’re also wrapping up the 2017 Impact Forums where we’ve received great feedback and support from our fantastic Komen 3-Day community. During these events, we shared with participants the steps we plan to take as we tackle our Bold Goal to reduce breast cancer deaths by 50 percent by 2026.
In order to do so, we need your voice and the help of our advocates who are passionate about ending breast cancer. One of those advocates is Dr. Sheri Prentiss who has served as the Susan G. Komen 3-Day national spokesperson for six years. In 2017, Dr. Sheri will be sharing her passion and dedication for creating a world without breast cancer as she transitions her work from the Komen 3-Day to the Susan G. Komen African-American Health Equity Initiative.
Dr. Sheri wanted to share her journey with the 3-Day family and reassure the community that her unwavering dedication to Susan G. Komen and its mission will continue through her work as an ambassador for quality care for all.
Starting the Fight―From Doctor, To Patient, To Spokesperson
When I found a lump in my right breast in 2008, I didn’t realize that it would change everything―my health, career and life. A year after I underwent a partial mastectomy, 15 rounds of chemotherapy, and 33 rounds of radiotherapy treatment, I was faced with yet another hurdle. Clinically disabling lymphedema in my right arm, hand and fingers made it so I could no longer care for my patients. I didn’t know it then, but this career-changing twist of fate would bring me closer to the organization that I am so involved with today―Susan G. Komen.
I was a longtime supporter of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day long before I participated as a survivor in my first walk in 2010. I felt right at home walking alongside these men and women with strong characters, sharing a sense of true familiar love for a cause that meant more than words could express to each of us. The 3-Day community helped me heal from my breast cancer and lymphedema diagnosis―physically, emotionally and spiritually. This 3-Day family of mine was and always will be truly exceptional and inspiring. It takes a true selfless individual to become completely committed to a cause―fundraising, training and walking year, after year―this strong group helped build my faith. In 2011, I applied to be the national spokesperson for this family that I adored and served in that role for the past six years.
The Miracle of 3-Day―Healing Through Love
No 3-Day event is the same. I feel like it is my first walk every time. I knew once I arrived on-site that I would not only be helping the lives of others, but in return my life would be positively impacted.
The love is all around, from the crew to the walkers. I have even seen marriage proposals and marriage ceremonies on-event! None of this would be possible if it were not for the 3-Day staff. Year after year their support and commitment is unwavering. Whether it is a difficult decision that needs to be made, or an issue behind the scenes, the staff ensures that each event runs as seamlessly as the last.
I have experienced many miracles during my 3-Day experiences. People who did not think they could walk due to a chronic illness were able to defy their doctor’s prediction and participate in that season’s event―showing their complete commitment to themselves, their donors and the 3-Day.
Continuing with Komen―Equal Access for All
Because of my involvement with 3-Day I have had the opportunity to participate in Race for the Cure, Affiliate fundraisers, and more. In 2015 when I was asked to moderate the Chicago Breast Cancer Disparities Roundtable I was honored to help lead this important discussion in my hometown. That day, I heard many stories from patients who faced barriers in accessing health care and clinical trials. I continued to advocate for health equity by representing Komen on national disparities panels and community meetings. I was recently honored to accept the opportunity to serve as a Susan G. Komen African-American Health Equity Initiative Ambassador. In this role, I will continue to help us reach our Bold Goal.Being an African-American female physician, as well as a breast cancer survivor, I know I have a unique experience that can help further Komen’s African-American Health Equity Initiative―saving more lives, improving quality of life, and sharing my story so others can gain strength, assurance and healing – like I was able to do through the 3-Day community. My work with Komen is more than just a passion, it is a commitment that I have honored and cherished and I know that it will continue to evolve within this organization.
Thank you from the depths of my soul to my amazing 3-Day family for all you have given me. I will never stop fighting and I look forward to furthering my role with Susan G. Komen to ensure that ALL are able to have access to new innovations, quality care and treatment. Be encouraged and be blessed.