Support Breast Cancer Foundations on Giving Tuesday

Greetings, beautiful people! These past two years have been tough, haven’t they? Pandemic fears, economic woes, and uncertainty about the future have caused everything from low level anxiety to outright terror for so many people. I’ve experienced anxiety during each breast procedure I’ve endured over the past two years, from unilateral mastectomy of my left breast followed by physical therapy, expander fills, autologous DUG flap reconstruction surgery, and three revisions to match size and shape that included fat grafts on the left and and mastopexy plus scar revision on the right.

Photo Credit Deposit Photos

Of course I was anxious about anesthesia, outcome, what I was putting my body through – again – and when it might end. But I was also terrified of exposure to the Covid virus.

Then, I imagined how terrified patients undergoing chemo and radiation must feel, knowing they are at an even higher risk due to a compromised immune system. If you are one of those patients, check out these resources from the American Cancer Society.

That’s left me feeling pretty powerless, and I don’t like that feeling. What can I do? How can I help?

In addition to working in the lab, sharing my knowledge and experience, and giving to my organization, I’ve found giving to organizations dedicated to helping patients facing cancer empowering. These organizations do fantastic work. They not only fund research for tomorrow’s new treatments, they also fund initiative to help patients today. Right now.

I’ve blogged about The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer initiative. I participated with Team Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center this year to raise money for this wonderful organization that supports research as well as advocacy and aid for cancer patients in the era of Covid.

For #GivingTuesday2021, I’ve chosen Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Like ACS, they support research, outreach and advocacy, and provide patient resources and support. And they are fully breast cancer focused, providing information and also financial assistance to patients in need – that’s SUPER important in these difficult times. SGK has supported my survivor sisters and their families, my colleagues in research, and they will continue to do so thanks to the generosity of donors.

You don’t have to break the bank to support them, either. Small donations really add up, especially with matching initiatives from partnering sponsors. In fact, donations made to SGK through December 1 have DOUBLE the impact thanks to matching. So this year, consider supporting SGK for Giving Tuesday.

Here are some other great breast cancer/cancer focused organizations you can support, many of which are highlighted in my book and many of which focus on healthcare equity and equality.

Women Breast Cancer Support Charity Concept – Credit Deposit Photos.

Organizations You Can Support

METAvivor is an organization that supports patients with metastatic breast cancer and funds research that specifically seeks to improve outcomes for patients with metastatic disease, https://www.metavivor.org/

Cancer Support Community, Gilda’s Club, provides support and resources for cancer patients and their families, https://www.cancersupportcommunity.org/.

Sisters Network, Inc., brings awareness of the impact breast cancer has on the African American community and provides a space for African American breast cancer patients to meet, bond, and receive support while receiving cancer treatment, http://www.sistersnetworkinc.org/.

The African American Breast Cancer Alliance focuses on promoting awareness, early detection, and prevention while providing emotional and social support with culturally specific information and programs for women of color, https://www.aahafortwayne.org/.

Sisters by Choice seeks to eliminate access barriers to screenings and quality care for breast cancer, including a mobile clinic to bring care to uninsured and underserved communities in Georgia, https://www.sistersbychoice.org/.

Black Women’s Health Imperative focuses on improving overall health and wellness of African American women and girls, provides outreach and curates black women’s health data through its #WeRefuse initiative for breast cancer, https://bwhi.org/.

Latinas Contra Cancer is dedicated to creating an inclusive healthcare system for cancer care in the underserved Hispanic/Latina population, http://latinascontracancer.org/.

The Latino Cancer Institute is devoted to promoting education, services, research, and policies that impact Hispanics/Latinos in the United States when it comes to cancer, https://latinocancerinstitute.org/.

The American Indian Cancer Foundation seeks to eliminate cancer burdens of Indigenous people by improving access to prevention, early detection, treatment, and support for survivors, https://www.americanindiancancer.org/.

Asian American Cancer Support Network is dedicated to providing education, support and a diverse network of resources for Asian Americans affected by cancer, http://aacsn.org/.

Maina Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness and support for breast cancer early detection among South Asian Indian women, https://mainafoundation.org/.

The American Association of People with Disabilities is dedicated to increasing political and economic power for people with disabilities, supports access to quality comprehensive and affordable healthcare for people with disabilities as part of their mission, https://www.aapd.com/.

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities works to protect the universal human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, supports access to quality healthcare, https://www.aaidd.org/.

National LGBT Cancer Network, an organization that provides education, support, and advocacy for LGBT cancer patients and survivors, and also maintains a directory of LGBT-friendly cancer treatment facilities, https://cancer-network.org/.

National LGBT Cancer Project, an organization providing support and advocacy for LGBT cancer survivors and supporting equal and appropriate access to cancer care for the LGBT community, https://www.lgbtcancer.org/.

Got any other organizations to add to my list? Send them my way! Please!

Fundraising for Tanisha

Tanisha Jones MBC & Renal Failure Fund

I’ve met and admired many survivor sisters over the years. After my diagnosis, they held me in their arms and lifted me up so I didn’t have to face breast cancer alone. Before I was diagnosed, I got to know a really cool woman named Tanisha Jones. We were represented by the same literary agency at the time, writing romance and urban fantasy* and trying to break into the fiction publishing world in a big way.

*Side note: If you’re a fan of Anne Rice and J.R. Ward, TREAT YOURSELF to Tanisha’s The Fallen Series. This exciting series is full of vampires, Fae, Weres, demons, and other supernatural beings hiding in plain sight in New Orleans. Throw in a hot homicide detective with some supernatural abilities of his own and you’ve got one helluva story!

Like me, Tanisha works in academics (one of her many jobs). She also has a daughter, just a little bit older than mine. She has hopes, dreams, highs, lows, a wicked sense of humor and a drive and work ethic to rival any I’ve seen in my almost 48 years on the planet.

Like me, she has breast cancer. Unlike me, she’s living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). While there is no cure, she hasn’t allowed MBC to define her life or steal her dreams. She’s still writing – she published Unbound, Book 3 in The Fallen series, this month. She’s still raising her daughter. Due to health issues related to MBC, she isn’t working at the moment but she’s worked since her diagnosis in 2016.

Because America is still balking at the idea that healthcare is a human right rather than a privilege reserved only for the white and wealthy (and healthy), like many Americans, Tanisha is struggling financially due to the cost of her cancer care. I could write an entire rage post on the topics of American healthcare’s failures that include the real possibility of financial ruin, disparities in access and care, and the lack of healthcare equality and equity that is still VERY much a problem in 2020 in this country, and I will.

But right now, what matters is helping my friend who’s struggling with breast cancer.

Tanisha’s family also has a GoFundMe initiative (you know, the largest healthcare “plan” in the United States) to help her. Click here to donate what you can. It helps. It matters.

I have taken the extra book royalties I earned in November plus a small windfall that came to me at just the right time to support Tanisha. I can think of no better person in whom to invest.

We did it! Goal for ACS Fundraiser Met!

Hello, beautiful people! I’m so pleased to report that we’ve raised over $1,000 for American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Initiative!

Amount Raised as of October 28, 2020.

There’s still time to make a difference! Support a local team. Send in a donation directly to the American Cancer Society. Support other organizations that fund breast cancer research and patient support: Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, American Association for Cancer Research.

Strapped for cash? There’s still plenty you can do. If you know someone going through cancer treatments, reach out. Bring food or groceries, Zoom/Skype/FaceTime and chat to give that person a bit of company and sense of normalcy. In these times, believe me, it helps. Everything, even seemingly small things, help.

Thank you!

Raising Money to Support Breast Cancer Research!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! As a breast cancer researcher and breast cancer survivor, I’m all about giving back and supporting the cause. In that spirit, this year I’m raising money for The American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Initiative.

A set of Breast Cancer Awareness cards.

Want to help? Donate to my fundraiser and I’ll feature your survival story (or a loved one’s story) on my blog. You can make the donation in honor of someone you love who’s battled breast cancer. My fundraiser is dedicated to my mom, a 10 year survivor, and my cousin, who I lost at the age of 37 to HER2+ breast cancer.

Want something more tangible? Well, my side hustle is writing fiction, including paranormal romance and urban fantasy, which you can read all about at D.B. Sieders. I’m donating all of my royalties from October and November to Making Strides. So you can buy some books, enjoy them, and know that your money is supporting a great cause.

Team Lab Rats at Nashville Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Event

Laura Kim, Kalin Wilson, Dana Brantley-Sieders, Rebecca Cook – Team Lab Rats!

Days like today fill me with so much energy, enthusiasm, and hope.

Nissan Stadium and the surrounding area were JAM PACKED with people – women, men, kiddos, cute doggos, survivors and those who love and honor them – gathered together in a unified purpose: to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research, patient assistance, and to keep making strides!

My wonderful friends/colleagues, including graduate student Laura Kim, medical student Kalin Wilson, and fellow investigator and collaborator Rebecca Cook, joined me to form Team Lab Rats. They were with me through my own adventure with breast cancer and are with me in the laboratory as we search for new and better treatments for molecular targets that drive breast cancer growth, survival, and metastatic progression. It’s a beautiful thing. I’m a lucky woman.

Together, we raised $1,500, and I couldn’t be prouder of these amazing women and all of the teams who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for this cause that is so near and dear to my heart. Nashville, my home city, you make me so proud!

Look at that crowd!
My AMAZING Team honored me at the Avon booth by Kissing Breast Cancer Goodbye!

To everyone in Nashville and around the United States (and the world), thank you for your support. It means more than you know to survivors. Thank you.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

UPDATETeam Lab Rats raised $1,500 for Making Strides! Thank you to everyone who donated, bought my books in October, and for everyone who supported and shared fundraiser deets! I’ll be posting pictures from the event this weekend!

Me The Day Before My Breast Cancer Surgery

I’m thrilled to be a part of the 2019 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Initiative, sponsored by The American Cancer Society and Avon. American Cancer Society is a great organization, supporting researchers, patients, survivors, and clinicians. I’ve had the great fortune to serve as a peer reviewer for their research grants program, and I’ve got to tell you – there are some AMAZING new investigators across the United States working hard every day to find new treatments, better diagnostics, better interventions, and extending our knowledge of this complex and terrifying collection of diseases.

In addition to research, they fund patient transport to and from treatments, personal assistance to help patients understand their diagnosis and get the help they need, and one-on-one support for breast cancer patients. This is a fantastic organization that I’m proud to support as a researcher, advocate, and survivor.

I’m Team Leader for Team Lab Rats, and we’ve raised over $1,000 so far and growing! I’m also donating 100% of my October book royalties to this Making Strides Fundraiser. Pictures and updates to follow.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, reach out to The American Cancer Society for accurate information, resources, and support. Knowledge is power. You are not alone.