As part of this month’s focus on African American women and breast cancer, I’m Taking Charge is pleased to welcome some words from Gloria Harmon. Gloria is the founder of Women of Essence Breast Cancer Support Group. Women of Essence assists African American women with breast cancer who live in south central California. Gloria’s work with this group is an excellent example of how one woman’s struggle can be transformed into a source of healing and hope for many. Here is what Gloria has to say about Women of Essence:
Women of Essence
Women of Essence Breast Cancer Support Group increases local attention about the devastating impact of breast cancer in the African American community. Its primary objective is offering support to breast cancer survivors. However, Women of Essence also works to educate the underserved communities about breast cancer prevention and early detection.
Women of Essence programs include monthly support group meetings, breast self-examination workshops, Breast Cancer Day at local churches, door-to-door outreach and an annual candlelight vigil.
Survivorship is important as one goes through breast cancer treatment, and Women of Essence helps women through the journey. For example, our Teardrop Boutique helps individuals cope with the physical appearance changes brought about by cancer and its treatment.
The Tear Drop Boutique is a boutique on wheels. It offers an array of products including wigs, scarves, hats, prosthesis, and makeup. Survivors or supporters of survivors provide the services. They’re sensitive to women’s feelings regarding changes to their body images. You call us, we drive up, and you walk in.
How Women of Essence Came Into Existence
Newly diagnosed with breast cancer, I was lost and was the first person in my family to be diagnosed with cancer. My dad’s physician diagnosed him with prostate cancer just a year later. A support group blessed me by getting me through the storm of cancer. They educated me about the things to ask the doctors. I also learned to never take a “No” from a doctor or the insurance company. And I became a fighter for those who couldn’t fight back.
To make a long story short, Women of Essence came about because of my desire to help others like myself. As a member of two other groups, I valued their support greatly. And I felt that a support group was needed in the south central area. So I started one!
Thank you, Gloria, for giving us the scoop on your support group and for all of your work in helping women with breast cancer! Readers, if you’d like to know more about Women of Essence, you can visit their website or Facebook page. Or, you can call them at 1-310-537-8227. Remember to check back here at I’m Taking Charge this month for more stories and information about African American women and breast cancer. And be sure to check out last year’s focus on African American breast cancer awareness as well!