THE 3-MINUTE INTERVIEW: Thelma D. Jones

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People,Abby Hamblin

Jones, a breast cancer survivor, has dedicated her life to advocacy on breast cancer and other health issues. She is currently a breast care navigator at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Northwest Washington and has a fund in her name at the DC Cancer Consortium to help support women and breast cancer care and education.

Why have you dedicated your life to being an advocate on health issues?

I have gradually realized that the health of a person depends on how they handle everything else: their work, their home life, their personal life and the community. The mere fact that I am a breast cancer survivor helps to bring that home. Unless I'm healthy, I can't do all the other things I enjoy doing out in the community.

How did the Smith Center for Healing and Arts come about?

It was established in 1996, and we serve over 10,000 people a year. Two people recommended me to Smith Center. One, by the head of the breast cancer support group I am actively involved in, and one of the Smith center's navigators. They both knew I was a breast cancer survivor and that I was actively involved in the community. I already had that heart and hope connection in the community, being involved since 1982. They were looking for someone in the community who could reach out to people, especially African-American women. We have a high number of cases of breast cancer here in D.C.

What is the most fulfilling thing about your work?

The most successful feeling is that I'm making a difference. From the comments women and their family members are making. When there are questions or concerns, I am there to give moral support, referrals or advice on how to solve the challenges they have.

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Abby Hamblin

Intern
The Washington Examiner