MARTINSVILLE, Va. – When a Martinsville mom and daughter discovered they both carried a life-threatening gene, they decided to not just educate themselves, but others as well.
Telesa Via remembers distinctively when her mother Patricia told her she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I would say ‘devastation’ is the one word that I would use at that moment,” Telesa said.
Patricia and Telesa lost their beloved mother and grandmother, respectively, to the deadly disease.
With Patricia’s diagnosis came the discovery they both carried a gene increasing their cancer risk.
“All that I knew was my mom was just diagnosed, I personally carry the gene, and so I just saw this fog that came over me,” said Telesa.
“I said, ‘Okay, Lord, if you are with me, if I live, I want to give back,’ so that was my number one, to give back and help other women,” said Patricia.
Patricia’s pain suddenly turned to purpose for both women.
Within 30 days of the diagnosis, Patricia and Telesa started the MLC Foundation, a means to educate and equip women, especially in the Black community.
“Since there’s so many Blacks that are dying with cancer, people with color, I’m really, really trying to educate them because they don’t know, they do not know. I didn’t know,” said Patricia.
The CDC reports breast cancer death rates are 40% higher among Black women than in white woman.
But Patricia said it does not matter who you are. If you’ve been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, she wants to help.
“I want to give back. I want to help my community. If I learn, and can live, I want to help someone else, because this thing is no joke,” said Patricia.
The MLC Foundation not only educates women walking through a cancer diagnosis, but also provides them with needed financial assistance.
Patricia is now an 11-year cancer survivor.
If you would like to take part in an upcoming fundraiser, click here.