It’s a day of strength and hope, celebrated around the world. This weekend, National Cancer Survivors Day was observed.
The day is meant to show that there can be life after a cancer diagnosis. One local mom is doing just that. Health and wellness advocate Tamara Rodriguez was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago.
"I wanted to tell a different story. I wanted people to know that cancer doesn’t discriminate. I was 35,” she said.
Rodriguez is mother of two, a wife and works as an accountant. Once she was diagnosed, her busy world quickly came to a halt.
“I wasn’t even supposed to get cancer statistically. I wasn’t suppose to get a mammogram," she said. I don’t have family history. I have a healthy lifestyle.”
She said one of the hardest parts of her journey was talking with her daughters about the disease. That’s when she was inspired to write the book “Hair to the Queen.”
It’s a children’s book that helps parents talk to their kids about the disease.
“It was so difficult for me. So, shurely other mothers was going through what I was going through," Rodriguez said.
She’s now become an advocate for women’s health. She supports women across South Florida to get screened. It’s a passion that’s shared by Tracy Milgram, founder of BRCA Strong.
“Basically, what we are doing here at BRCA Strong is we are going to those neighborhoods that we know need more attention," she said. "Most of the women going through the pandemic can not afford the screening. They can’t afford the follow up care so what are we doing - we have all that in one.”
BRCA Strong is a South Florida based group dedicated to helping women in underserved communities. They offer free screenings and testing along with additional resources.
Rodriguez says she knows the importance of having a strong support network and remains focused on advocating for women who need.
“At the end, the message and lesson I am trying to tell people is take control of your health and don’t wait around," she said. "Don’t think because it didn’t happen to your mom that it would not happened to you. “