The Bionic Girls volunteers help patients who are being treated at Memorial Regional or Memorial West Hospital in Broward. The nonprofit offers transportation, prescription pick-ups and house cleaning. To raise money, Nugent is selling the books she wrote after her cancer diagnosis: Mommy is Still Mommy: Cancer Cant Change That, The Road to Prosperity: Let Your Passion Lead the Way and Declarations of a Survivor: A Guided Journal for Motivation, Encouragement & Strength.
When you hear the desperation in some of these womens voices you just cant turn them away, said Nugent, 43. When they see me, they light up, they hug me and they tell me how blessed they are to have met me. That is my reward. Its the best feeling in the world.
The Caribbean American Democratic Club of Broward County recently awarded her the community service award for her work.
She is an exceptional woman and we are grateful for what she has done for the betterment of the community, said the Rev. Melville B. Herron, the clubs president.
At a lounge in South Beach, Rhonda Smith, a former marketing consultant for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, introduced herself as a breast cancer survivor.
Miami-Dade County has the highest rate of breast cancer mortality rate in the state, the highest rate of late stage diagnosis and the highest rate of uninsured women, she told the audience of 100 or so partygoers who were imbibing complimentary pink glow cocktails and pink water under neon lights.
She wore a see-through white striped blouse and blue jeans to host the youthful event. There were women wearing pastel pink corsets and bubble gum pink angel-feathered wings, and a glitzy pop-up shop offering jewelry, make-up and purses. The funds raised were to support her friend Andrea Ivory a breast cancer survivor who earned the CNN Hero award in 2009 for going door-to-door in low-income Miami neighborhoods to help uninsured women get free mammograms. These are the efforts Smith markets now.
The Virginia executive moved to Miami Beach from Boston about a decade ago in search of relaxation. Before she was diagnosed in 2008, she traveled often, worked long hours, often skipped meals and did not exercise.
In 2010, Smith founded Breast Cancer Partner, a for-profit organization that develops survivorship programs for healthcare centers. She focuses on helping women who have completed treatment to treat side effects with alternative methodologies such as acupuncture and Tai Chi. Her work brings in about $100,000 annually, she says. She also organizes events to promote yoga, meditation and healthy eating.
She has partnered with the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Miller School of Medicine to recruit and coach black breast cancer survivors, as part of a study to evaluate their quality of life. The National Institutes of Health/The National Cancer Institute (NCI) funded the study.
Black women with low-income often dont have access to proper care. They are less likely to get breast cancer than white women, but they have a higher breast cancer death rate, Smith said. We have to address the specific challenges facing South Floridas diverse black women.
A FIERY FIGHTER