Role: Ambassador Constituent Lead, North Carolina's 12th District
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Years Volunteering for ACS CAN: 5
How did you first get involved with ACS CAN?
As a cancer survivor, I'm very passionate about advocating for cancer patients and their families. In 2017, I wrote a Letter to the Editor opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and how important healthcare coverage is for cancer patients and the millions in this country without quality, affordable healthcare. My LTE was published in the Charlotte Observer and noticed by Ray Riordan, the Grassroots Manager, in 2017. He called me saying that I'd be perfect as an ACS CAN Team Lead and would I be interested. My immediate response - YES!! My goal ever since my cancer treatment.
How did you feel after that first meeting with a lawmaker?
After my first meeting with Congresswoman Alma Adams, I felt energized and empowered to affect policies needed in our communities.
If someone said to you “ I am not a political person, why should I get involved?” What would your response be?
That's my favorite statement to address! I always tell people to get a piece of paper, write the word politics on it, then take that piece of paper and set it on fire. Politics is just a red herring to turning off people's involvement with the process that directly affects their home and family, from the sheriff to School Board, City Council, County Commission, and especially the Judges. We need to know who these officials are and communicate with them. Thumbs up or down, they affect our daily lives.
What types of things do you do as a volunteer for ACS CAN?
As a Volunteer for ACS CAN, I meet with my lawmaker - Congresswoman Alma Adams - and share ACS CAN's mission of eradicating cancer. I do this by educating her on our priority bills and the importance of funding cancer research. We have established a relationship of trust; the outcome is having her support on the myriad legislation we'd like to see pass. I also enjoy participating and fundraising in support of our Lobby Days on Capitol Hill, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and Relay for Life.
We know you are involved in the ACS CAN Black Volunteer Caucus. Can you tell us about this group and how it is helping ACS CAN promote health equity?
I was honored to be nominated by my Grassroots Manager, Marc Mazza, and accepted on the National Black Volunteer Caucus. The BVC promotes health equity in ACS CAN in several ways. We provide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training for management and staff on being more aware of the needs and concerns of Black volunteers and establishing relationships with community organizations like sororities and community action groups. The glaring statistics of how many more Black Americans die from cancer than our White counterparts are alarming. The BVC serves as a liaison in the Black Community. Our neighborhoods want to see people who look like them providing accurate health information they can trust..
Any Final Thoughts?
I love being an advocate and all the positive energy and compassion we share as volunteers.