Cierra Sisters, Inc. is an African-American breast cancer survivor and support organization. Cierra Sisters, Inc. was conceived and founded by Bridgette Hempstead, a breast cancer survivor. ?"Cierra", an African name meaning ?"knowing"? reminds us that when we have knowledge, we have power against the effects of breast cancer.??We welcome all cancer survivors, supporters, caregivers, family and friend
Ms. Bridgette Hempstead, the president and founder of Cierra Sisters, Inc., formed Cierra Sisters as an African-American breast cancer support organization. Ms. Hempstead devotes her time helping and encouraging African-American communities which are affected by breast cancer. As founder Ms. Hempstead tells her own story of fighting and surviving breast cancer . . .
I was with my daughter, Shayla, at home, and I heard the Lord speak to me in a very warning voice that said, 'Get a mammogram and do it now!.' I looked around in the room, because there was no one at home but Shayla and I. The telephone was near me, so I picked up the phone and called the doctors, and told them I wanted to get a mammogram. They made an appointment for me to see my doctor.
When my doctor examined me , she mentioned that there was no family history of breast cancer, and since I was 34 years old, and African-American I wouldn?t need a mammogram. She told me not to worry and to come back after 10 years. When I asked her again, this time in a very urgent tone, if I could get a mammogram, the in my voice and face told her that I was very serious, and to appease me she scheduled me for a mammogram.
On the morning of the mammogram, I heard many horror stories, It's bad, It hurts, It causes breast cancer, and African-Americans don't get it. So when the doctors finally did the mammogram, they told me more needed to be taken, so as they took more pictures the specialist came out and told me I needed to see a surgeon immediately. I was diagnosed on my 35th birthday.
After surgery and pathology doctors explained to me that the cancer was in such an early stage that it was determined its first appearance was a year prior to the mammogram. All were quite surprised the cancer had even showed on the mammogram since it was 0.9 centimeters, about the size of a pen dot. Many questions arose as to how I could have known there was cancer there, but my answer to everyone?s question was that the Lord warned me. For this very reason I am a strong voice in the community, warning and educating my African-American sisters that breast cancer is real, but you don?t have to die from it. I am also strong in breast cancer education and outreach, including seminars, and motivational speaking to women who suffer or have suffered from breast cancer. I encourage them that they can make a difference in their family lives, and in their own lives, knowing that it doesn't diminish their womanhood."