This post is brought to you in partnership with Susan G. Komen Charlotte. All opinions are our own.
Known worldwide as a leader in working toward a cure for breast cancer, Susan G. Komen has been helping women since 1982.
Two local breast cancer survivors spoke with us about their journeys and how Komen Charlotte has worked to provide them with services and hope.
Jennifer Wolf is a wife, mother, friend and breast cancer survivor who first noticed a lump in her breast in 2015, four months after the birth of her youngest daughter. “I knew that 1 in 8 women in the U.S. are affected by breast cancer in their lifetime,” Wolf said. Still, the news that what she thought was merely a blocked milk duct was actually cancer came as a shock. She underwent a year of chemotherapy followed by a lumpectomy and 33 radiation treatments, and she will spend the next 10 years taking Tamoxifen.
“I credit Susan G. Komen for these advancements in treatments,” Wolf said. “[It] is the only organization with more than three decades of experience tackling breast cancer through research, community programs, providing access to care and helping people take action personally and through public policy.” After working with Novant Health in marketing and sales for the radiology department, Jennifer Wolf started working for Komen Charlotte this past January. “I wanted to be a part of Komen’s bold goal,” she said. By 2026, the organization aims to reduce U.S. breast cancer deaths by 50%.
Though Bernadette Simpson found a lump in her breast on Christmas Eve in 2008, her familiarity with cancer does not start there. “My maternal grandmother, my mother, and two of my sisters have all been diagnosed with breast cancer,” Simpson said. “All of my sisters and I have the BRCA-1 gene mutation as well.” That Christmas Eve, as a 42-year-old, unemployed single mother, Bernadette Simpson was extremely scared. “I didn’t have health insurance and didn’t know where to turn to get a mammogram,” she said.
Ms. Simpson soon found Cabarrus Health Alliance—a Komen Charlotte grant recipient that provided her with a free mammogram and biopsy. After a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Simpson was cancer-free for six years. Then tragedy struck again. In 2015, Simpson was diagnosed for a second time, now with triple negative breast cancer. Now employed and with health benefits, Simpson opted for a double mastectomy, chemo, radiation and reconstructive surgery. She now raises money for Komen Charlotte’s Race for the Cure and has been one of the top ten fundraisers for the past several years. “The money raised… helps everyday people like me,” Simpson said. “I am living proof that it saves lives.”
You can help survivors like these right here in our community by joining Komen Charlotte October 6 at Race for the Cure. Of funds raised at the event, 75% fund breast health programs in Komen Charlotte’s 13-county service area; the remaining 25% funds breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer. Register here.