Tigerlily Foundation Receives Grant to Support Breast Cancer Advocacy Training Program

Tigerlily Foundation awarded $700k grant by the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation to launch community-based patient advocacy program to dismantle systemic barriers and end disparities for Black women facing breast cancer.

Stone Ridge, VA, June 30, 2021 --(PR.com)-- Tigerlily Foundation (Tigerlily), a national breast cancer organization received a generous $700,000 grant from the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation as part of its commitment to health equity, in support of Tigerlily’s strategic focus on working to end barriers for women of color facing breast cancer, particularly those living in communities facing the highest disparities.

Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at younger ages, later stages and with more aggressive types of breast cancer compared to White women. There are additional disparities that contribute to these worse outcomes for young women of color, including lower rates of inclusion in clinical trials, lower rates of referrals and recommendations by providers for diagnostic, genetic and biomarker testing, and less access to quality care. In addition, Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with aggressive breast cancers at a later stage than White women, to include triple negative breast cancer and inflammatory breast cancer. Triple-negative breast cancer, a kind of breast cancer that is often aggressive and recurs after treatment; yet, due to socio-economic reasons, including a legacy of exploitation of people of color in the clinical trial/scientific/research settings, Black women have a mistrust of the scientific community, providers and healthcare systems. These factors contribute to Black women having a forty percent higher death rate from breast cancer.

The funding from the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation will support Tigerlily’s ANGEL Advocacy program, which will target specific cities in the United States that have the highest mortality rate from breast cancer. “Race, literacy, financial barriers, access, social, systemic and hereditary backgrounds should not be determinants of life and health equity. As an organization, Tigerlily Foundation was founded to address inequities of age, of stage and of color. Programmatically, we have invested significantly in addressing disparities affecting black women – to ensure that women of color are equal partners at every table. We are proud to partner with Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation to elevate the impact of our work, to ensure that we are educating, building capacity and building bridges to eliminate disparities for this population.” –Maimah Karmo, President, Tigerlily Foundation.

Further, Karmo said, “It is imperative that we change how we approach working with communities of color. As a Black woman, a first-generation immigrant, single parent, and breast cancer survivor, I know firsthand, what it means to experience inequities in healthcare, and I have seen the impact to Black and Brown people in communities that have multiple socio-economic barriers, like the District of Columbia, for example, has one of the highest breast cancer mortality rates in the United States.”

To combat these horrible disparities, Tigerlily Foundation provides many programs to address all aspects that affect the medical systems and social determinants of health for young women, including its ANGEL Advocacy Program. The Tigerlily ANGEL Advocacy Program provides a free, comprehensive training for young women ages 21-50 who have been impacted by breast cancer. The training provides education on breast cancer and the issues that contribute to disparities as well as empowerment to create change, learn how to become better self-advocates, and advocate on behalf of individuals and their greater community to make system-wide impacts.

The goal of this program is to eliminate barriers and build bridges, starting in five underserved communities with some of the highest mortality rates for Black women: Oakland, California (Alameda County); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia County); Troy, Michigan (Oakland County); New Orleans, Louisiana (Orleans Parish County); and District of Columbia, Washington D.C. With this grant from the BMS Foundation, the organization can further deepen its work in these communities most impacted by health disparities.

A core focus of the Tigerlily ANGEL Advocate Program is to educate, empower and train young women to be advocates, advise on specific challenges facing their communities, and tactically work to eliminate barriers in their communities to ultimately improve health outcomes for these populations facing high breast cancer disparities, while also collaborating with stakeholders touching the lives of communities of color, as trusted partners.

“Catharine Grimes, senior director of the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation added, “Our work over the past two decades has demonstrated that efforts such as these must be fully integrated into the community to be successful. Engaging advocates who come from the community, and especially those who have a connection to breast cancer, is a key element that positions Tigerlily Foundation to deliver significant positive impact for Black breast cancer patients."

The Tigerlily Foundation is thrilled about this initiative and looks forward to continuing to make groundbreaking contributions to end disparities in the Black community.

About Tigerlily Foundation: Tigerlily’s mission is to educate, advocate for, empower, and support young women, before, during and after breast cancer and serves as a leader in the breast cancer space, working to eliminate disparities of age, stage and color. The organization was founded by Maimah Karmo after she was diagnosed with breast cancer at 32 years old. Its vision is to end disparities of age, stage and color.

About the ANGEL Advocate Program: To learn more about this initiative or to apply to become a Tigerlily ANGEL Advocate, email TLFangel@tigerlilyfoundation.org.
Tigerlily Foundation
Mamah Karmo