After surviving three wars and escaping from her native Liberia at a young age, in 2006 Maimah Karmo faced another challenge: she was diagnosed with stage 2 triple-negative breast cancer. was 32 years old and had no family history of the disease.
“She prayed and asked God if he had spared her life, that she would dedicate her life to helping other young women understand breast cancer,” said Shanda Cooper, program director of the Tigerlily. Foundation.
While receiving chemotherapy, Karmo founded the Tigerlily Foundation. The name Tigerlily comes from Karmo’s love for the flower itself. “Flowers have different seasons – the petals may fall off, but they bloom again,” says Cooper. “When someone goes through treatment, they may feel like they’re going through this kind of ‘winter’ or a time when their petals have fallen off, but they’ll bloom again, and there’s strength in that. “
Sixteen years later, karma is a breast cancer survivor and continues to act as CEO of Tigerlily Foundation. The organization focuses on supporting and educating women aged 15-45 throughout their cancer journey. Currently, women under 45 account for approximately 9% of new breast cancer diagnoses in the United Statesaccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Their objective Cooper says the organization focuses on making health care more accessible to people and patients, “regardless of where they live, what they look like, and what their socio-economic status is.”
“Our vision is really to make sure a cancer diagnosis doesn’t inspire fear, but leads to hope,” she says. “Our motto within the organization is to be heart-centered and guided by patience in all that we do.”
Services they provide The foundation has several programs focused on educating, empowering, supporting and advocating for breast cancer patients, survivors and caregivers.
Their ANGEL Advocacy Program puts patients, survivors, and caregivers through a training program that aims to educate them about breast cancer law, teach them to be their own advocates, and empower them to speak out in their communities and at the state, local and federal levels in order to bring about lasting change, according to Cooper.
The Clinical trial program encourages women to participate in clinical trials and “move from truth to transformation when it comes to clinical trials, and increase access to clinical trials for people of color,” she says.
The foundation also offers the Hope Box programwho sends care kits containing educational materials, beauty products, etc. to women undergoing treatment, and Family Fund Programwho, during the COVID-19 pandemic, provided financial support to breast cancer patients and survivors in need.
” We give‘Don’t limit it to something like, ‘You need to be in active treatment,’ because there are survivors who also need financial support,” Cooper says.
You can learn more about the ANGEL advocacy program, the clinical trials program and the rest of the programs they offer on their website.
Events For four years, the foundation has welcomed its Young Women’s Breast Health Day on the Hillwhere breast cancer patients, survivors, experts and supporters come together on Capitol Hill advocate for better breast health resources and care. This event usually takes place in March, Cooper notes.
The Pure Cat Initiative Features virtual classes focused on movement and mindfulness, which are offered every day of the week and offer different types of programming, including yoga, Zumba, etc. Classes are free for patients, caregivers and anyone else who wishes to participate.
You can find a schedule of their classes, as well as the rest of their upcoming events, on their events page.