A little more than two years ago I got a phone call from my mom with her test results. She had been awaiting the results of a biopsy and it had come back positive- she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. My sisters and I came home immediately and we started talking through what the next few months would look like. As my mom went through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, we grew closer as a family than ever before. My dad was with her every moment, at every doctors appointment, every sleepless night. Ladies from the neighborhood brought gifts, members of my parent’s church brought food, and people came out of the woodworks to support our family through the nearly year long process of her recovery.
Today she is cancer free, and she keeps in touch with the women she met in her support groups. Our family is closer than ever, and my mom is more vibrant than ever.
During my first trip to Kenya in December 2013, I met a woman named Jennifer who reminded me immediately of my mom. She welcomed our group into her home and gave each of us mugs of chai. Jennifer also had a story of a diagnosis, but her story was drastically different. When she told her family about her diagnosis, they left her. She was fired from her job because of her diagnosis, and she was publicly humiliated by her neighbors when they found out. Nobody from her church brought food, no friends showed up with gifts and words of support. Jennifer was left alone.
Jennifer had been diagnosed with HIV, which she had contracted from her husband. Even though HIV is very different from cancer, the emotions and fear are the same. They are both life changing diagnoses…and it is unacceptable for someone to have to experience that alone.
Jennifer eventually found the CARE for AIDS program in her community, and the day I visited with her in 2013 was the day before her graduation. At the end of the day, Jennifer and my mom are no different. They are both strong, beautiful women who have overcome incredible odds, they are both vibrant, active community members, and they are both amazing moms.
Every day CARE for AIDS is giving women like Jennifer a chance at life, a chance to grow closer to their families…a chance to be a mom. In the spirit of Mother’s Day, we are inviting you to give and join our work in a very tangible way. You can help us rally around women like Jennifer when they get a diagnosis.
Honor you mom this Mother’s Day by rallying around moms like Jennifer in Kenya- learn more here.