After a health lesson in junior high, Chandler resident Faustine Chan told her mother, a Chinese woman who knew nothing about breast cancer, what she had learned in class that day. Two weeks later, her mother told Chan and her sister that she found a lump in her breast. Fifteen years later, her mother is a breast cancer survivor — and Chan continues to share that lesson whenever she can to educate others about the disease and the importance of early detection.
For her efforts, Chan was recently awarded the Joyce Gooding Spirit of Komen Award at the Komen Phoenix Survivor Education and Empowerment Conference.
In 2008, Chan was crowned Ms. Arizona United States, dedicating her platform
to raising breast health awareness through public speaking opportunities, according to a news release. The next year, she became a Komen Phoenix Community Outreach Ambassador, attending events to educate others about breast health. As she did with her mother, Chan is trying to raise awareness in the local Chinese community, whose culture considers it taboo to discuss topics such as cancer.
“My mother is still uncomfortable talking about her experience,” she says, “so I am her voice.”