AmeriCorps Volunteer is an Ally in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

AmeriCorps Volunteer is an Ally in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

By: Ali Menninger

I virtually completed my nine months of service as an AmeriCorps VIP member. As I reflect on my time as an AmeriCorps member, the AmeriCorps oath that I pledged to nine-months ago still rings true today:

 

“I will get things done for America – to make

our people safer, smarter, and healthier.

I will bring Americans together to strengthen our

communities.

Faced with apathy, I will take action.

Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.

Faced with adversity, I will persevere.

I will carry this commitment with me this year and

beyond.

I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things

done.”

AmeriCorps members have grit, determination, and are dedicated to getting things done. Amidst a pandemic, we pivoted and explored new ways to achieve our mission.

My experience as an AmeriCorps member for Susan G. Komen Orange County has quite literally changed my life. Growing up as a white woman in Upper-class Orange County, I never fully understood that the color of your skin and your perceived accent can determine the quality of your care. Being taught by such intelligent, and brave women like Ambrocia Lopez, LarLeslie McDaniels, and Lauren Fix on what health equity is and how to achieve it for all has been such a treat. I have seen them navigate hundreds of women through their breast cancer journey. Lauren, my direct supervisor has spent countless hours consulting with women from all over Orange County helping them to find the perfect wig to make these women feel beautiful when they are undergoing treatment.

Even during the Pandemic, these three ladies stayed determined to make sure all women have equal access to quality care. They have spent hours on the phone empathetically listening to women and men talk about their cancer story and providing insight to them when they ask. They pivoted to virtual educational events to continue to educate women and men on what Breast cancer is. Just being a bystander to all that they have accomplished during these past nine months has been life-changing.

I came into Susan G Komen Orange County intending to stop the sexualization of women’s health. Women have been told that their breasts need to be a certain

size but are not taught what the signs and symptoms of breast cancer are.

Women are told that their breasts are distracting, so some women ignore them until it’s too late. Women’s health should not and cannot continue to be sexualized. Women are dying, women are not being heard and women are being ignored. Breast Cancer affects all women of shapes, sizes, ages, and color, however, the quality of care that each woman gets is different. Women of color are rarely asked to be a part of clinical trials, they fight 5x harder to get quality care and they have to be their own advocate. Watching Lauren, Ambrocia, and LarLeslie fight for all women regardless of income, insurance status, immigration status, and the color of their skin is so inspiring, they truly embody the AmeriCorps saying, “ I will get things done for America.”

As I transition onto my next chapter as a Law Student, these words “I will get things done for America” have never rung truer. It is bittersweet to say goodbye to my Mission team, they have led me to my passion- Women’s health law, and for that, I am eternally grateful for these women.

I will continue to fight for ALL women. It is my mission to end the sexualization of women’s health and to fight for health equity.

“I will get things done for America – to make. our people safer, smarter, and healthier”