At the age of 38, Desirée was diagnosed with breast cancer, which recurred at age 47. For many who have had to fight breast cancer, Desirée serves as an advocate for patients by openly speaking about her diagnosis to audiences nationally. The core of her message is to encourage patients to truly know their body and feel empowered to steward self, mind, body and soul. Through SHARE’s Side by Side Program, Desirée trains medical students and doctors on how to deliver disappointing news and vehemently supports the importance of patient/doctor communication.
She volunteers with the Witness Project® of Harlem, SHARE Dedicated experienced support for women facing breast and ovarian cancers, Young Survival Coalition (YSC) as an officer of the board and National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS). She is a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women (ACBCYW) and the NCI Central IRB’s Cancer Prevention and Control CIRB. Desirée has addressed “Spirituality and Cancer” at CancerCare’s “Living with Cancer” conference. She is featured in Survivors In Spirit’s DVD titled Living, Loving & Learning – The facts about African American women and breast cancer survivorship. Desirée has also served as a panelist at Congresswomen Wasserman Schultz's “Beating Breast Cancer EARLY” event, The Double XX Files hosted by The Norman Lear Center/Hollywood, Health & Society/Writers Guild of America East, YSC’s Summit, La Guardia Community College’s Women History Month event, NCCS’s Cancer Policy Roundtable, MSKCC’s Minority Cancer Awareness month event, the FDA’s Accelerating Anticancer Agent Development and Validation (AAADV) workshop and Pfizer’s Breast Cancer Advocacy dinner. She has presented on Advocates Mentoring Advocates at the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP). She has also appeared on ABC World News with Dr. Richard Besser, Arise America News with Debbye Turner Bell, CBS with Dana Tyler, NBC’s TODAY show, The Good Fight with Pat Battle and Here and Now with Sandra Bookman. Desirée is featured in Cancer.Net’s “Navigating Challenges” video series for people newly diagnosed with cancer. She also appears in Cancer Support Community’s ebook on breast reconstruction. Desiree is also featured in Yahoo Beauty’s Bald & Beautiful story and a CURE magazine article “Veering Off Course: Addressing Challenges in Chemotherapy and Radiation Adherence”. She facilitates a support group for women of African, African American and Caribbean heritage who are dealing with breast and ovarian cancers.
She serves as a lobbyist and is a graduate of the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s (NBCC) Project LEAD. As a patient advocate, she’s attended: ASCO’s Breast Cancer Symposium, SABCS, AACR S-SP at their Annual Mtg. and Rally and the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved Conference, Breast Cancer Action's rally at the Supreme Court‘s hearing against Myriad, European School of Oncology’s (ESO) ABC2, ABC3 & ABC4 and BCY2 Conferences, ASCO’s Annual Mtg., Society of Integrative Oncology’s (SIO) Conference, Breast Cancer & the Environment Research Program (BCERP) Conference, ASCO’s Survivorship Symposium and the FORCE Conference. Desirée is a consumer reviewer for the DoD CDMRP and a patient/stakeholder reviewer for PCORI.
SHARE, Sisters’ Journey, The Keep A Breast Foundation and YSC have recognized her as a breast cancer survivor. They have also honored Desirée for her outstanding work as a volunteer, community leader and educator. Desirée and her daughter, Shayna appear in SHAPE magazine’s article, “Breast Cancer: A Family Affair”. Desirée is the recipient of NBCC’s Grassroots Advocacy Award, African Women Cancer Awareness Association’s Torch Bearer Award, the NAACP Parkchester Branch’s Woman of the Year Award and La Guardia Community College’s Community Service Award. She has been a guest blogger for ASCO’s Cancer.Net and the Department of Defense’s Breast Cancer Research Program.
Desirée’s diagnosis has created many opportunities as a breast cancer victor to share her talents and aid diverse communities. It has provided her with a platform to be a voice for the voiceless through advocacy and pay forward by educating and empowering people nationally. Most importantly, she strives to “live in the moment” and is “intentional” about spending time with family and friends. She loves her “me” time and enjoys baking gourmet bread pudding, traveling, attending concerts, cultural programs and sporting events.