I had been an advocate in the disability community for many years. However, after my cancer diagnosis, I had a strong desire to support women who where going through the cancer journey, to include treatment and follow up. Many people had supported me on my cancer journey and I wanted to continue in that role. Yet, I had a desire to provide more than emotional support, and learn more about cancer research and the role an advocate could play in advancing cancer research and improving the outcomes for current and future generations.
I was diagnosed in 2008 with ER – PR Positive Breast Cancer. I underwent chemotherapy, radiation and a bilateral mastectomy. I was diagnosed with cancer of the appendix in 1999 and underwent chemotherapy and a colon resection.
I have participated in “Train the Trainer” trainings as well as written documents on Effective Advocacy for by people with disabilities. I have attended numerous conference sessions on the role of advocacy and patient engagement and have conducted small group trainings on the importance of advocacy.
In my professional life, I am the Executive Director of the American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) in Rockville, MD. I have been involved in Government Affairs and Advocacy work for over 25 years. I obtained my JD degree from John F. Kennedy School of Law, and a MS in Rehabilitation Administration from DePaul University.
I have been the Project Director on numerous Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure grants at AAHD, where the focus has been on educating and empowering women with disabilities about breast health and raising awareness of healthcare providers on mammography accessibility. I have been active in the American Public Health Association Disability Section, the Friends of National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and served on the Montgomery County Commission for People with Disabilities.