Non-profit raises awareness about the disparities of women of color and breast cancer

Virginia

RESTON, Va. (WDVM) — Its Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and one local non-profit is raising awareness about the disparities that women of color with breast cancer face every day.

The Tigerlily Foundation, based in Reston, provides resources for women of color, aged 15-45, to learn about having breast cancer at a young age.

The foundation was started by Maimah Karmo, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31 after finding a lump in her breast. Her doctor initially told her that she was too young to get the disease, but she insisted on doing a biopsy.

“The fear is numbing. It’s overwhelming,” said Karmo. “You have to make choices that can save your life or end your life, and you have to act quickly.”

Since creating the organization, Karmo has shed light on the difficulties black women face, saying “that they are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women.”

Karmo says that her late diagnosis could have cost her life, and she wants to prevent the same situation from happening to young women through education.

“Black women tend to have more aggressive breast cancers, higher death rates,” said Karmo. “It’s why I strive to get women who are younger these tools and education. It’s because it’s so hard to make a life-saving decision moments before, you had no idea what breast cancer was. What we do at Tigerlily is arm women with tools that could save their lives.”

The Tigerlily Foundation is providing women of color with free virtual courses, fundraisers, and financial assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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