Studies have shown that though African American women do not have the highest diagnosis of breast cancer incidence, they do have the highest death rate than any other race of women. Upon learning of this statistic, Rev. Tammie, a then recently diagnosed breast cancer patient, took action. Rev. Tammie was a student at St. Mary’s College, Moraga, California and was required to manage a community project as part of her graduation requirement. She decided to spread the word that early detection saves lives. She targeted the African American faith-based community and designed an informative hand fan that appealed to her audience. She then launched a campaign to distribute the fans in seven Sacramento Valley churches.
Rev. Tammie visited each church sharing her story and personal mission to save lives of African American women through raising awareness and educating women on proactive breast health actions. It was important to Rev. Tammie to offer materials that appropriately represented the women she served. In addition to the fans, she gave breast self-exam cards displaying an African American woman from Susan G. Komen and the official African American breast cancer “Ribbon of Life” by Creative Organization, Inc.
The response was astounding -“This work is so necessary, Thank you!” “Please continue your project, our community needs this.” However, these were not the motivating factors for Rev. Tammie to continue to inform her community. Comments like, “I didn’t know that I was really supposed to do those exams every month,” and “That machine hurts too bad” made her aware that as her project was coming to an end, her real work was just beginning. Thus, Carrie’s TOUCH, Inc. was born.
Since its inception, Rev. Tammie and her board of directors comprised of all African American women, remain determined to educate the community and empower survivors through speaking engagements, health fairs, seminars, home visits, support groups and more. Carrie’s TOUCH is committed to reversing the breast cancer mortality rate within the African American community by declaring that, “We are the difference making a difference!”