July marks Sarcoma Awareness month. We spoke to Black Women Rising member, Charlene Young about her journey after being diagnosed with bone cancer and her work in the community.
Charlene was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in 2011 which is a rare form of bone cancer.
Charlene says that her life has changed in many ways since her cancer diagnosis. “I have had to adapt to permanent mobility issues, always putting my health first, having boundaries and not pushing myself so hard.”
This can be hard as she wears so many hats with the work she does in the community as a public speaker and patient advocate.Charlene advocates for those facing cancer health inequalities and she was nominated for an ambassador award by Bone Cancer Research Trust. “I have been through the most traumatic experience in my life and now I continue to help others to share that knowledge,” Charlene adds.
Charlene notes that the hardest part of her journey was grievin the person she was before her diagnosis. “Having to accept the things that I physically can no longer do but being fortunate for the things that I can,” says Charlene.
She also says that along this journey she has had the chance to meet many incredible people and has had the opportunity to work with some amazing charities.
When asked what bone cancer awareness month means to her, Charlene replied, “It’s a month of spreading awareness, sharing patient stories, and a more collaborative approach for charities, researchers, patients, and supporters to get our voices heard. For me it’s a reminder of how far I have come and how much more work and research is needed for more bone cancer patients to survive.”