The African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association is a story of two friends and a mother. Ify Anne Nwabukwu and Chinwe Otue-Agugua, M.D were best friends who shared everything in common, including their mothers. When Lucy Onwumah Adaba (Ify’s mom) was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1990, it became personal. Lucy Adaba had no health insurance at the time of her diagnosis, being a visitor to the United States, she did not qualify for Medicaid. Chinwe rallied her friends in the medical profession and treated Lucy Adaba pro bono. The two friends fought hard to save the life of Lucy Adaba. Lucy survived after treatment and went back to her home town where she received little or no follow up treatment. She lived for seventeen more years and finally died of breast cancer metastasis to her liver on April 26, 2007.
On September 11, 2002, twelve years after her mother’s diagnosis, Ify’s best friend was also diagnosed with breast cancer. She knew right away that something had to be done. She no longer had time to think about what needed to be done. This was time for action. Chinwe fought gallantly for six years but also lost her battle to breast cancer on October 29, 2008.
Breast cancer does not discriminate. Looking at the lives of these two beautiful women that lost their battle to breast cancer, it is obvious that breast cancer knows no educational limits; it has no color code; neither does it have geographical boundaries. Research has shown that breast cancer affects African immigrants at a much younger age than their caucasian counterparts. AWCAA through it’s programs and advocacy work, help to ensure that African immigrants have access to early screening and are able to get treatment if and when diagnosed with breast cancer.
Mrs. Lucy Adaba and Chinwe Agugua, M.D. may have lost their lives to breast cancer, as have a host of other women worldwide, but our action, our work and our determination today to stamp out breast cancer, will help accelerate a cure for breast cancer. We pray for a world with no breast cancer and a world where no woman have to die of breast cancer regardless of her geography, religion, education or socio-economic status.