African American women form breast cancer support group - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

African American women form breast cancer support group

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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Several local ladies have come together to form a support group for African-American women who are breast cancer survivors.

"I wanted to live to at least see 35. I was afraid I would never be married. I was afraid I would never have kids. I was worried about my career. I was two years out of college and I was just worried I wasn't going to make it," said Jocelyn Banks.

"When they called me and told me that I had breast cancer, I was devastated. I cried, but I knew, you know what? It happened for a reason. I'm going through this. It may be a testimony for me to share with someone else one day. This is what I'm going through. This is my journey. I'm traveling it right now," said Sonya Watkins.

She is now traveling on that journey with members of the support group. Members of Inspirational Baptist Church felt there was a void in the African-American Community. Too many women were diagnosed, but not enough were coming together. So, these members planned and prayed then formed a support group for women who are fighting and survived breast cancer.

"There is no doubt in my mind that there is a strong need for more awareness, more education and more support for African-American women. The survival rates are not as good for us," said Banks.

Researchers say women of color, especially African-American women, tend to get diagnosed later in life.

"A lot of people just kind of close the door. It's like okay. It's my issue. I'm going to deal with it, instead of sharing it with everyone else, and saying hey look, you're not alone. There are so many people who are going through this experience and it's bad for everyone, but we can come together. We can make it work," said Watkins.

Through faith and fellowship, these survivors are attempting to black out the stigma still associated with the disease in many communities of color. In May, the group will provide mammograms for those with and without insurance.

"We're just thankful by the grace of God, we're still here, and we want to give back. And we're trying to be a channel of resources in our church," said Jackie Robinson, a survivor.

If you would like to get involved or need someone to talk to, members say you can call the church at 513-961-3060. You do not have to be a member of the church to join the support group.

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