At the age of 38, Desirée was diagnosed with breast cancer, which recurred at age 47. For many who have had to fight breast cancer, Desirée serves as an advocate for patients by openly speaking about her diagnosis to audiences nationally. The core of her message is to encourage patients to truly know their body and feel empowered to steward self mind, body and soul. Through SHARE’s Side by Side Program, Desirée trains medical students and doctors on how to deliver disappointing news and vehemently supports the importance of patient/doctor communication.
She volunteers with the Witness Project of Harlem® (WPH), Survivors In Spirit (SiS), SHARE Dedicated experienced support for women facing breast and ovarian cancers and Young Survival Coalition (YSC) as a board member. Desirée has addressed “Spirituality and Cancer” at CancerCare’s “Living with Cancer” conference. She is featured in Survivors In Spirit’s DVD titled Living, Loving & Learning – The facts about African American women and breast cancer survivorship. Desirée has also served as a panelist at the C4YW conference and Congresswomen Wasserman Schultz's “Beating Breast Cancer EARLY” event. She has also appeared on ABC World News with Dr. Richard Besser. She facilitates a support group for women of African, African American and Caribbean heritage who are dealing with breast cancer.
She serves as a lobbyist, is a member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) and a graduate of Project LEAD. As a patient advocate, she’s attended: the Breast Cancer Symposium, the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, American Association for Cancer Research's Scientist-Survivor Program and Rally, Breast Cancer Action's rally at the Supreme Court‘s hearing against Myriad, the Advanced Breast Cancer 2 conference and American Society of Clinical Oncology. Desirée is a consumer reviewer for the Department of Defense's Breast Cancer Research Program.
SHARE, Sisters’ Journey, The Keep A Breast Foundation and YSC have recognized her as a breast cancer survivor. They have also honored Desirée for her outstanding work as a volunteer, community leader and educator. Desirée and her daughter, Shayna appear in SHAPE magazine’s article, “Breast Cancer: A Family Affair”. Desirée is the recipient of NBCC’s Grassroots Advocacy Award.
Desirée’s diagnosis has created many opportunities as a breast cancer victor to share her talents and aid diverse communities. It has provided her with a platform to be a voice for the voiceless through advocacy and give back by educating and empowering people nationally. Most importantly, she makes time to “smell the roses”, enjoys spending time with family and friends, baking gourmet bread pudding, traveling, attending concerts, cultural programs and sporting events.
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