Sheila Pettiford has been living and thriving with MBC for over 8 years. Her battle began in 2004 at 45 years old with early-stage breast cancer and no health insurance. Sheila was directed by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Philadelphia affiliate, to access the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. Consequentially, Sheila was able to receive treatment for cancer without any out-of-pocket expenses for five years. Sheila was cancer free for 10 years until diagnosed with MBC in her lungs in April of 2014. Her only child was pregnant and on bed rest hundreds of miles away. She ‘retired’ from teaching to fight for her life and became active in the breast cancer community. Sheila values support groups and with them has found lots of information and comfort. Sheila found needed support in the Women of Faith and Hope and in Enon’s Cancer Survivors, Supporters and Caregivers Ministry at her place of worship in Philadelphia, PA. She especially enjoyed the art classes at the Cancer Support Community of Greater Philadelphia. This activity is featured in Robin Roberts’ Advanced Breast Cancer Courage Comfort and Care video series with WebMD where Sheila discusses how she has received support living with advanced cancer.
Sheila is passionate about patient advocacy for those living with MBC. She has attended various conferences about metastatic breast cancer such as LBBC’s annual MBC conference held in Philadelphia. Sheila was honored to go to Capitol Hill in 2019 and virtually in 2020, sponsored by the Komen Foundation to share her story with legislators to garner support for Bills that would impact those living with Breast Cancer. She has shared her insights with the healthcare community about how to market information to MBC patients and completed several cancer studies.
Sheila is committed to the fight to increase diversity in clinical trials for MBC patients. She volunteered with MBC Alliance’s BECOME Project in 2021 and participated in Black Wo(Men) Speak Symposium in San Antonio, TX in 2022 as a subcommittee member and shared her perspectives as an MBC patient. Sheila was an honoree for Metavivor’s Be Bold and Behold fundraiser in 2022 also. She volunteered for several years during her journey with MBC with breast cancer awareness groups local to her hometown of Philadelphia; Praise Is The Cure and Youth Enrichment Programs, Inc. BC fundraising program. Their goals are to increase awareness about risks leading to breast cancer, new treatments and increasing survivorship in the African American community.
Sheila has moved within the past 3 years from PA to DE and is now transitioning to VA. She travels when able, loves the arts and sunrises, walks bridges and beaches. She volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for neglected and/or abused children. Most importantly, Sheila is a team player waiting on a cure, living out loud with advanced breast cancer – making memories with family and friends.
WHAT I'M WORKING ON
Our MBC Life
Amplifying voices, sharing realities. This is Our MBC Life. A podcast dedicated to exploring life with metastatic breast cancer from the perspective of us, the people living with this disease and the experts who partner with us to help make our lives better. Brought to you by SHARE Cancer Support where we believe no one should face MBC alone.Link to program