CHARLOTTE, N.C. — October kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and one local woman is taking the time to highlight the importance of mammograms.
"My mom was short of breath," Kiya Shears, founder of Journey Collective, Inc. said. "I took her to the hospital, she was diagnosed with cancer within 24 hours, [and then] she died."
Shears lost her mom to breast cancer back in 2016, and since then she has created the Journey Collective, Inc., using her painful experience as a voice for others.
She said there are many reasons why some women avoid getting mammograms with one of the most common reasons being fear.
"Everyone knows someone who has had cancer, right? And so I hear a lot of women saying, 'well, my grandma had [it]' or 'I just don't want to', or like, 'I don't want to get a bracket test,'" Shears said. "Which will tell you if you have the gene, but just because you have the gene doesn't mean that you're going to have cancer."
Shears said they’re hoping to use education and motivation from personal stories to break those barriers, encouraging many women to normalize the conversation.
"It is important because it normalizes conversations, it normalizes conversations where you can say 'hey, I have this cut here,' you know, that either doesn't seem to be healing, I think it's a bug bite," Shears said.
She said, right now, they’re working on an article about breast health and will be hosting a 5k event where families and friends can run for women’s wellness and celebrate survivors.
"We actually have a survivors and thrivers table where we will not only be celebrating those surviving cancer but those who are also thriving as they kick cancers," Shears said. "But there also be a lot of information shared."
Wake Up Charlotte To Go is a daily news and weather podcast you can listen to so you can start your day with the team at Wake Up Charlotte.
SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Stitcher || TuneIn || Google Podcasts
All of WCNC Charlotte's podcasts are free and available for both streaming and download. You can listen now on Android, iPhone, Amazon, and other internet-connected devices. Join us from North Carolina, South Carolina, or on the go anywhere.