Cancer Survivor Turns Trash Into Artwork, FDA Announces National Black Family Cancer Awareness Week, And More

The FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence has announced National Black Family Cancer Awareness Week.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE) recently announced its first-ever National Black Family Cancer Awareness Week (NBFCAW). The designated week this year will take place from June 17 to June 23.

During NBFCAW, the FDA’s social media platforms will share information related to the initiative, while health centers, nonprofits and community organizations raise awareness about the impact of cancer on black families.

“Research has shown that cancer awareness can help reduce cancer death rates and increase life expectancy for all racial and ethnic groups, including black Americans,” the FDA wrote.

The hashtag for the awareness week is “#BlackFamCan”.

A cancer survivor cleans up trash from the streets and turns it into artwork as therapy.

Cindy Small, of New Orleans, survived both cancer and the loss of her home to Hurricane Katrina. After the hurricane, Small also lost her job and all important papers and possessions in her house.

“I felt like a gypsy,” she told Alabama Local News. “I felt like a refugee.”

After finding a new home, a job and a sense of peace, Small was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. She kept pushing and never forgot that she came from a family of Holocaust survivors. However, her cancer experience did cause depression, which she treated through art therapy. Like an old junk collector, she walks around town picking up nuts, bolts and caps.

“Junk has no expiration date,” Small said. “You can use it if you find it.”

Small repurposes the junk into sculptures, robots, and wall hangings to sell on Etsy through her company, Krewe of Oddities. She also writes about her art and her work has been featured on local radio stations, newspapers and magazines.

Brooke Shields shared how her view on sunscreen changed after she was diagnosed with pre-cancerous cells.

Actress Brooke Shields was diagnosed with solar keratosis (precancerous cells caused by prolonged exposure to UV rays) during a routine annual checkup.

Her doctor had to remove cells from her lips twice to make the diagnosis and was told that if left untreated, it would turn into skin cancer.

“To tell the truth, I learned about the importance of annual checkups much later,” Shields wrote on ELLE.com. “I come from an era where we put skin oil on our skin and baked in the sun. I come from a generation that has never been taught about the seriousness of skin cancer.”

Throughout her childhood and young adulthood, Shields rarely applied sunscreen, hoping to achieve a “sunkissed look,” assuming she would never get cancer because she kept her skin clean and moisturized.

“I mean, the most shocking thing about the diagnosis for me was that it may have come 40 years later,” she said. “So the damage I did then and thought I was invincible hits me now. I count myself lucky.”

Now Shields never skips sunscreen and strictly encourages her kids to do the same no matter if it’s sunny or what season it is.

An 11-year-old with cancer who was bullied online was surprised by friends and family outside her treatment hospital.

Anna Labella (11) was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in 2019. Her cancer recently came back in March and is not responding to treatment after the tumors developed to her skull.

Labella started making TikTok videos to pass the time in seclusion, but online bullies started laughing at her for having no hair, which she lost during chemotherapy.

Her mother, Jessica Labella, decided to plan a surprise for her to brighten her mood. She took Anna for a walk through the hospital and surprised her to see hundreds of people from her hometown of Ilion, New York, who had gathered outside the hospital to see her.

Members of Fight All Monsters, a nonprofit organization for families with children battling childhood cancer, along with friends, family, community members and even teachers cheered and held up placards with words of encouragement for Labella.

“It was great because I didn’t get to see my friends and family very often,” she told YourBasin.

Labella’s family said all the love and support really made a difference to her.

“Thank you so much. We love you all and we appreciate all your support. What the community is doing for Anna is amazing and it really drives her to fight,” says Jessica Labella.

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