South Florida Hospital News
Thursday September 24, 2020

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September 2020 - Volume 17 - Issue 3


25 Years of Breaking Down Barriers for Breast Health Equity:

Kim V. Heard, Susan G. Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Board President, 
knows what it takes to fight for fair and equal treatment for all.
August 12 2020 - As Kim Heard, Susan G. Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Board President, celebrates her 25th year as a breast cancer survivor, she is reflecting over the quarter century of changes she has fought for to seek greater equity and breast health awareness among women of color, young women, and the uninsured. She has experience with all from her stage II diagnosis at 38 years-old when she was a widowed single mother without health insurance who had to battle her way through a system that at first wouldn’t allow her to receive a mammogram.
“I had to literally fight just to get a mammogram. I was told that I was too young, didn’t have a family history and that pain was not an indicator of breast cancer,” she recalls.  
After finally having a mammogram and a biopsy, she received thirty rounds of radiation and 16 rounds of chemotherapy.  She joined Komen as a volunteer immediately after completing her treatment protocols.  Since that time, she has helped countless breast cancer patients navigate their journeys, particularly women of color and uninsured women who experienced the same disparities in health care that she did. Throughout her volunteerism and her board leadership role at Komen, she has become a strong advocate for breaking down barriers and has seen the EARLY Act pass which states that women can’t be denied a mammogram regardless of age. She has also seen the evolution in understanding that family history can be an unknown in certain cultures like hers (Bahamian) where it is forbidden to discuss cancer openly. And she has seen pain now acknowledged as an indicator of breast cancer.  
In an interview, Kim can share her perspective on fighting for health equity, the progress that has been made, and the challenges that still exist as Susan G. Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale gears up for its virtual More Than Pink Walk event on Saturday, October 17, 2020.

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