Breast cancer has had a profound effect on Thelma and her family. In addition to her diagnosis, her mother and five of her sisters were also diagnosed with breast cancer. Though not metastatic herself, the loss of two of her sisters to metastatic breast cancer and another one to myelodysplastic syndrome, secondary to treatment, spurred her commitment to supporting research that will lead to better understanding of this disease, more effective and less toxic treatments, and improving quality of life of those with MBC. She is passionate about building bridges between early stage and metastatic patients, often saying, ” We are ALL in this TOGETHER!” Thelma’s analytical skills, honed by her formal education in engineering, keen interest in the sciences, as well as her personal experiences, is a unique, but perfect fit for patient and research advocacy. She has been involved in patient and research advocacy over 14 years, with many of the projects focusing on MBC. As a member of the University of Alabama Breast Cancer Working Group and the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC), she has worked closely with basic science, clinical, and translational researchers.
Additionally, recognizing the importance of education, Thelma has worked for more than a decade in outreach to the African American community in north central Alabama.
WHAT I'M WORKING ON
Deep South Witness Project
The high breast cancer mortality rate among African American women in the US is due, in part, to low rates of screening. The Deep South Witness Project is an innovative breast cancer education program designed for African American women living in Mississippi and Alabama to obtain age-appropriate breast cancer screenings and follow-up, potentially reducing late-stage diagnosis and mortality.Link to program