Meet Thelma Jones – “I Have Cancer, But Cancer Doesn’t Have Me”
Thelma Jones is making remarkable strides in breast cancer awareness. As a community activist for over 30 years and a breast cancer survivor herself, Thelma understands the importance of cancer awareness and education in her community. In fact, she was named a White House Champion of Change in 2011 for her leadership in the fight against breast cancer. She also received the Mayor’s coveted Community Service Award in the Lifetime Achievement category in 2010. Most recently, Thelma won the 2015 Thurgood Marshall Center Trust Phenomenal Woman Award.
In June 2007, Thelma was diagnosed with breast cancer. Shortly after, she became a certified breast-health educator with the American Cancer Society to work with cancer patients who had recently been diagnosed. After undergoing surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormonal therapy, she was able to win the fight. Thelma was inspired to give back to her community and share her story with others. Thelma believes that screening saves lives. She is working on educating people about the importance of regular checkups and knowing what symptoms to look for. The American Cancer Society says that women over 40 years old should have a mammogram done every year.
“Almost from the inception of my diagnosis, I vowed to fight back and use my voice to increase funding for cancer research and to make it a national priority.”
Thelma Jones is currently living in Southwest Washington, D.C. (our hometown!), working as a breast-cancer navigator for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. Her role is to help her clients find care, schedule mammograms and answer their questions. Thelma emphasizes the importance of finding a good doctor that you trust because you should never feel uncomfortable asking the tough questions. Her goal is to share support and guide patients through this process, showing them the positive side of life after cancer.
Thanks to Thelma’s dedication and passion for her community, she started one of Southwest’s only breast cancer support groups. “Sometimes I would invite people to my house or out on the stoop to talk about breast cancer, and people started saying I had a support group – so I created the breast cancer support group,” said Thelma Jones. The ACS Breast Cancer Support Group in Southwest D.C. has helped over 300 men and women, especially those who are struggling more than others – the ones who have to choose between picking up their medication or paying the bills.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer is the second leading cause of death of women in Washington, D.C. If you want to get involved, you can donate to the American Cancer Society, or sign up for an event near you. You won’t want to miss the Relay for Life!
In the picture on the left, check out State Lead Ambassador and breast cancer survivor, Thelma Jones (far left), as Councilmember Cheh presented a breast cancer awareness month proclamation at the City Council meeting. The picture on the right is of Jennifer Aniston (left) with Thelma Jones (right) at the White House in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.