As we celebrate breast cancer awareness month, we continue to support all our breast cancer survivors and the essence of raising awareness in our community. Breast cancer survivor, Shondia Sabari, was diagnosed at the age of 36 with absolutely no prior symptoms of breast cancer such as lumps, discharge, or discomfort. It wasn’t until one day, that she decided to get a mammogram and found out two weeks later she was diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts. We had the opportunity to hear how she bravely conquered her battle with breast cancer and how you can make the difference in saving not only yours, but someone else’s life!
Hello Mrs. Sabari, thank you for joining us for this interview! We appreciate what you have done to empower victims of breast cancer and for educating countless women and men with your story. To start off, would you like to share a little bit about your background and tell us where you’re from?
SHONDIA: Thank you so much, I am glad to share my story with you today! I am from Timmonsville, South Carolina, where I was raised by grandparents. I am also married with two children.
That’s great! We love how you have turned your journey into triumph with your business, BOLDANDBREASTLESS, Inc. It’s also amazing how you made your success story into a business to empower and educate women about breast cancer. With that said, how did you come to start BOLDANDBREASTLESS, Inc.?
SHONDIA: A week after my surgery, I felt like I needed to share my story with the world. I started to share it with family and friends, and from there, people started to reach out to me and wanted to hear more! It was then that I realized that my calling was to help other victims and bring awareness to this great cause.
Another interesting part of your life involves you being a military wife! First, we’d like to thank your husband for his years of service and for his dedication to keeping our nation safe.
SHONDIA: Thank you, we truly appreciate it!
Secondly, you’ve mentioned that you had an overwhelming network of support during your fight with breast cancer. Would you care to elaborate upon how being a military wife affected your journey?
SHONDIA: It actually didn’t, at least, not in a negative way. I was very grateful that my husband was able to support me through my journey because I was diagnosed shortly after he had arrived home from his second deployment. We knew that were going to be okay and we kept each other strong throughout the whole journey.
A part of your story includes how you received a bilateral mastectomy. When it comes to this type of procedure, it appears that there is tension or fear of having to undergo reconstructive surgery due to worries about our appeal. Some women may even feel pressured to wear prosthetics or breast forms; however, you are a proud and vocal advocate for being free of prosthetics because the most important thing to celebrate is life. What are some words of wisdom you would like to share with women facing this dilemma?
SHONDIA: If you’re comfortable with yourself, that’s all that matters. The fact that you are alive and that God gave you a second chance to truly enjoy your life is the true blessing. If you worry too much about what people may think, that’s when you’ll start running into a lot of problems. I refuse to live that way because the most important for me was surviving cancer. Reconstructive surgery was an option, not a priority. My priority was coming out triumphant and enjoying my life again.
It’s important that we, especially as minority women, take greater proactive measures in fighting breast cancer. I recently attended a breast cancer awareness event at the University of Texas at Austin and the speaker, who was also a breast cancer survivor, mentioned that although white women have a higher diagnosis rate, black women have a higher mortality rate due to the lack of taking proactive measures such as self-exams and getting tested, thus leading to lower diagnoses in our community. Do you agree with that, and if so, what do you think are some of the reasons for a lot of black women not being proactive?
SHONDIA: I do agree with it to an extent and I think some of the reasons are due to the way black women have been raised. We tend to treat cancer like the “c-word”. It’s a very private topic that may be depicted as humiliating or shameful, which is absolutely not the case. In addition to this, some black women are also uninsured or are unable to get access to other healthcare resources.
What are some proactive ways to combat breast cancer?
SHONDIA: I recommend talking to your doctor, reading WebMD because it is a very good website to learn more about symptoms and resources, and most importantly, know your family history! Sometimes, we are unaware that people in our family have found lumps in their youth or we had family members a few generations before us experience a challenge with breast cancer, so it is extremely important to research your family history.
It is very vital to call attention to the importance of having a strong male network of support for breast cancer awareness. Although men are diagnosed at a lower rate, men should still participate in raising awareness. How would you recommend men to get involved and why is breast cancer just as relevant to them?
SHONDIA: A good way for men to get involved is to join the conversation and talk to their daughters, nieces, mothers, and sisters about breast cancer awareness. It is crucial for men to encourage the women in their lives and attend breast cancer events. I think a lot of women are looking for that well-needed support from our male counterparts because at times, it can feel like that we don’t have the support that we need. Therefore, it is essential to get involved.
We absolutely agree and that brings us to the end of our interview! We at Walker’s Legacy would like to thank you for taking the time to speak with us! It is pertinent that we as women continue to keep these conversations going, maintain and build our network of support, stay educated, and most importantly, be proactive. You are a true inspiration and your story will go on to empower many more women and men. I’m honored that we got the opportunity to discuss your experience and we wish you more blessings and success!
SHONDIA: It was absolutely my pleasure! Thank you for giving me the chance to share my story!
If you want to learn more about combatting breast cancer or hear more about Shondia Sabari’s story, feel free to contact her at her website: http://www.boldandbreastless.com