Tulsa's 'Soulful Survivors' Supports African-American Women With Breast Cancer
TULSA, Oklahoma - Over the years, I have featured stories of fearless breast cancer survivors, but not all outcomes are positive.
Just this past year, we lost a young sweet woman who had waited too late to get checked.
Candice Nyan touched the lives of many people as part of a local group known as Soulful Survivors and encouraged others to Race For The Cure.
We first met Candice in 2016. She opened the Pink Rose Boutique in the Greenwood District, and she was battling stage 4 breast cancer.
She told me she had ignored the lump but wished she hadn't.
"The sooner you go to the doctor to get help, the better off you are because I know I didn't start at stage 4. It just got worse because I was afraid. I was scared to find out that it was something that would be detrimental to my life," said Candice Nyan.
Earlier this year, Candice passed away. She was only 31 years old.
During that last year, Candice had joined a local group called Soulful Survivors, a support group for African American women diagnosed with breast cancer.
"In that process, we are saying that we made it across. We survived it, we are thriving and you can do the same and it just helps. You know, we have lost individuals, but we certainly haven't lost hope," said Saundra McClelland with Soulful Survivors.
Soulful Survivors partners new breast cancer patients with those who have a similar diagnosis. LaKendra Woods was paired with Candice.
"I always stayed calm for her 'cause someone stayed calm for me. I always let her know to not let it get in your head," said LaKendra Woods.
Statistics show overall, white women are more likely to get breast cancer, but African American women are more likely to die from it. A recent study found while 92 percent of black women agree breast health is important, only 25 percent have discussed it with their family, friends and co-workers and only 17 percent have taken steps to understand their risk.
Saundra McClelland hopes her group can help change that.
"And a lot of times we've lost family members - but nobody told us why, but they didn't say what they had. They were secretive about it. They'd keep it in a corner because they thought it was something dreadful that you didn't want to talk about. You didn't want your kids to be sad about it so the silence is a lot of what kills us," said Saundra McClelland.
Soulful Survivors loved Candice. Members are heartbroken that she's gone, but they hope her death will motivate them to speak up and not be silent any more.