Individual Stories

Women in the Gulf States

Women in the Gulf States get breast cancer at higher rates than the rest of the country, in part due to the fact that young black women are disproportionately affected for reasons that are still unclear. The young women featured here are your neighbors from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and they all have stories to tell, from how they were diagnosed to how breast cancer has affected their lives. These really are stories that hit close to home.

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Amy Ackley

Amy talks about living with metastatic breast cancer as a young woman, wife and mother, discussing everything from side effects to family and career. She also offers advice about coping, maintaining balance and making memories for her family.

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Bertina Dent

A Louisiana young breast cancer survivor discusses how important support, including resources such as SurviveDAT, is for young woman battling the disease. She stresses how important it is for woman to receive support – and provide it.

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Chiquita McKinley

A young breast cancer survivor in Louisiana tells her story, finding the lump, being diagnosed, telling her children, losing her hair and the value of support, including SurviveDAT - especially when she was struggling to balance her home and work life.

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Cynara Jackson

A young woman discusses her emotional fertility journey, including the spiritual aspect of it, while offering advice to other young breast cancer survivors dealing with the same issues. Hear about her journey and her plea to others to never give up.

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Freda Johnson

Listen as Freda discusses being diagnosed, her family history, genetic testing, treatment and changes to her body, as well as her support system. She talks about the changes she has made to make herself feel better and the value that online support has provided.

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Rebecca Di Piazza

At the YBCS Workshop in 2015, Rebecca answers common questions about a breast cancer diagnosis. She talks about what it was like to continue with daily activities, positive experiences that she has taken away, and building confidence as she faced the challenges of being diagnosed with cancer.

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Jami Watson

Jami was diagnosed at 33 and then again, four years later. She talks about that experience; how supportive her husband, children and friends have been; chemotherapy; the physical effects of treatment; and the need young breast cancer survivors have of resources.

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Jessica's Story

Hear this Alabama woman’s story of being diagnosed with breast cancer and what scared her the most: not being able to have children. Listen to what she opted to do and the happy ending to her story.

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Kristen Noles

Kristen talks about the changes breast cancer wrought in her life in an interview, from how it affected her three children and family, the amazing support she received and her work as a nurse, where she became an even stronger advocate for patients.

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Michelle: A Survivor’s Child Tells Her Story

Michelle was eight years old when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. In this video, she talks about that experience, provides advice to people talking to children about cancer. She also talks about the risk she faces as the child of a survivor.

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Raquel Smith

Raquel was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 27. Hear her story and learn how she has channeled her disease into helping women like her through her PinkTopps.org recycling program, which raises money for mammograms.

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Shauntice Allen

During this interview, Shauntice talks about how she has coped with her diagnoses (initial and recurrence); what impact it has had on her relationships, including meeting people she thinks she never would have met otherwise; and how she thinks of herself.

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The Sherlings: A Mother Daughter Story

Hear the story as a daughter - and then a mother - are both diagnosed with breast cancer. Listen as they discuss the role of family history and genetics, discuss why genetic testing is important, and offer encouragement to others.

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Stacey Moore: A Mother’s Journey

Diagnosed with breast cancer during her second pregnancy, Stacey talks about that experience, undergoing chemo, her emotional state and her third pregnancy.

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Valerie Stingley

Hear how she was diagnosed - right after mother and grandmother; her reaction to chemotherapy; and the value of her husband’s support, as well as from others going through the same thing, including her own relations, and those she met on her journey.

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Whitney Pickering

Whitney discusses her family history of the disease, her decision as to how to proceed to treat her breast cancer, the way it affected her four children, and how wonderfully surprised she was by the outpouring of support she received. She also shares some great advice she got from a friend on wigs.

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Louisiana's Young Breast Cancer Survivor Network

Young women with breast cancer face unique issues. And in the South, there are more young women overall facing breast cancer. In Louisiana, young African-American women are significantly more likely to suffer from breast cancer.

That is why SurviveDAT is here. Part of the Gulf States Young Breast Cancer Survivor Network, SurviveDAT's mission is to help improve the quality of life for young breast cancer survivors, as well as their family and friends, by providing continuing resources and support.

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