Voices for Change: Two-time breast cancer survivor advocates for early detection awareness
(FOX 9) - The month of October kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The annual campaign has become a lifelong mission for one local woman.
Pamela Weems recalls the first time she noticed something was wrong. She was in her 30s and pregnant.
"I found a lump and I brought it to the attention of a doctor," Weems said. "And he told me it was a swollen milk gland; it will dissipate in time you know during your pregnancy."
Three years later, Weems is diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.
"It was darkness for me," Weems said.
She survived, but her fight wasn't over.
"So, I thought I was good until seven years later, I was diagnosed again."
This time it was caught early.
"Because I was ready for them this time," Weems said. "I’m prepared, you know that early detection that saves lives."
Since then, Weems has been raising awareness about the importance of early detection, particularly in communities of color.
"There are more Caucasian women that are diagnosed with breast cancer, but there are more women of color who die from it."
For the past 10 years, she's held a "Think Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Event."
This year's gathering is taking place at 3 p.m. this Saturday at Seven Steakhouse and Sushi Restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. A portion of the proceeds will go to the African American Breast Cancer Alliance.
"My goal is to get the percentage up higher for women of color, the survival rate up. That’s what my goal is. To get more women to check themselves, go for mammograms, listen to their bodies."
Spreading that message is now a lifelong mission for this two-time breast cancer survivor.
"I thank God every day that I’m here and I felt like why did he save me? And it’s because he wasn’t done with me. He knows there’s work for me to do. And I have to go out and do this work."
Weems has been cancer-free for nine years.