Stories of Hope

Tamika, tissue recipient

When Tamika received the news that she had breast cancer, she found the power to beat her illness from the support she received by opening up to others. Deceased donor tissue enabled Tamika to heal after her double mastectomy — and inspired her to give back by encouraging members of minority communities to talk about health issues and draw strength from love.

Thousands of miles away from family and friends, Tamika had just begun a new job in a new city when she found a lump in her breast. Active, health conscious and just 36 years old at the time, Tamika grappled with how to cope with her breast cancer diagnosis. Always the person others relied upon and priding herself on being in control, Tamika’s first instinct was to keep it to herself and fight her battle alone, but cancer forced her to reevaluate her approach to life. Initially, she opened up to a few close friends, then she kept on going. Tamika began talking to anyone who would listen as she went through every phase of her journey to recovery — including receiving
deceased donor tissue as part of her breast reconstruction surgery post double mastectomy.

The selfless act of Tamika’s donor planted seeds of love within her and inspired her to want to plant seeds of love in others with the hope that they will spread love, too. Today, she is active within her community, where she knows women are suffering with breast cancer and other health issues in a silence that she feels needs to be broken.

“Women are hurting and need help that they are reluctant to seek. My tissue donor’s gift energized me to share my perspective and give to other women,” said Tamika adding, “It truly is a gift that keeps on giving.”