P.E.A.R.L.S. Initiative encourages breast cancer survivors to inspire others
A northern New Jersey service-based sorority is telling the stories of breast cancer survivors and raising awareness of the illness.
“When I was told it was triple-negative stage four because it had spread, I was like, ‘Wow,’” says Carmelita Brown-McCoy.
Fourteen years after being diagnosed with the illness, Brown-McCoy is standing strong and healthy.
A single mom, Brown McCoy says that her two sons, who were 4 and 9 when she was diagnosed, inspired her to win her battle with breast cancer.
“Mom is going to fight because mom wants to see you graduate high school. I want to see you have children. I want to be at your wedding,” she says.
Brown-McCoy is now sharing her journey with others through the P.E.A.R.L.S. Initiative. It is meant to raise awareness, educate, provide resources, motivate women to get screenings, encourage patients and celebrate survivors.
The group was founded by the Passaic County chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., the first African American Greek-lettered sorority.
“Our Pink Pearls initiative reflects what we do in the Passaic County and surrounding communities. We are here to serve,” says Renee Powell. “This is for the community, for the people. So we want to encourage every person so we can have the broadest to be a part of our initiative."
The chapter will be a part of a 5K race to raise money and awareness for the cause this Sunday at Mulberry Commons Park in Newark.
The group also encourages survivors to share their stories and to serve as an inspiration for others.
"I'm now 52 years old and I'm proud to be here. My kids are 18 and 23 and so far, I've been here to see all their milestones. So please don't be afraid - please go for those checkups,” Brown-McCoy says.
More information about the P.E.A.R.L.S. Initiative and its events can be found below.