October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every year, people wear pink, fundraise and participate in races to make a difference. In honor of this special month, we spotlight our own brave survivor – Kimano Harris, accounting specialist, who has beat breast cancer and is now five years cancer-free. We recently had a conversation with her to learn more about how she got through it.
1) Tell us what you do here at the Community Foundation.
I work in the Finance/Accounting Department. I process scholarships, payroll and miscellaneous accounting and human resources duties.
2) Tell us why you wear pink every day in October.
I started after my sister and sister-in-law were diagnosed with breast cancer. This is something I’ve done in honor of them for the past nine years and continued to do for myself once I was diagnosed and for others who I have never met.
3) How did your diagnosis change you and your habits?
It gave me a reality check and made me aware of life as a whole. I was always an athlete and exercising helped me deal with the medicine and treatments I’ve received. It also motivated me to do a different activity every year. I’ve trained as a boxer, I’ve done several 5K runs and I plan to do a half-marathon next year.
4) What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’ve serviced in ministry for over 20 years and volunteer as a chaplain for the DeKalb County police department. I was also a missionary for 10 years. Some of the places I did mission work included Africa (Kenya, Nairobi, South Africa and other areas), South America and Mexico.
5) What are some words of encouragement for someone who has recently been diagnosed or is helping a loved one with their fight against cancer?
Don’t look at cancer as a death sentence. Be diligent and do everything you can to fight through it. It won’t last forever and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. We are more than a conqueror, we are strong and mighty on this journey of life.
We here at the Community Foundation support those fighting breast cancer, survivors of this disease and their loved ones. To learn more and to find out how you can help, visit the websites below.
- Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center treats children and young adults with all forms of cancer and blood disorders.
- American Cancer Society is known for research, but the Society also provides screenings and treatments and encourages prevention.
- Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (CORE) brings experts, healthcare and cancer-fighting organizations together to provide better treatment and care throughout Georgia.
- Georgia Cancer Info.org the first comprehensive online cancer information center for Georgia. Patients, along with their families and caregivers, have access to information on care and other resources.
- Planned Parenthood provides breast exams and mammograms.
- Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta uses seventy-five percent of all funds raised in Atlanta to fund breast health programs for those who don’t have access to screening and treatment. Twenty-five percent of funds raised are used to support the national Komen Foundation Award and Research Grant Program.
- YWCA Atlanta provides free mammograms.