For Arya, her connection to the disease stems from a time when her mother and grandmother began fighting cancer in the same year.
“My mother was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer and the resources made available to her were limited. This opened my eyes to the need for more education surrounding the journey in breast cancer.”
Arya’s grandmother’s journey ended quickly; however, after Arya spearheaded a health regimen for her mother’s experience, her mom came out on the other side of breast cancer as a survivor with a 0% pathological result. This is when Arya knew that with the proper resources, there was hope for others.
Through her love of community servitude and the challenges she had faced in her life, Arya was inspired to develop a black health social equity group called Rooted.Black Inc. This decision resulted in a recruitment offer to compete in the Miss Black US Ambassador 2019 Pageant.
Arya now brings together her experience as a Senior Healthcare consultant, as Miss Black Oregon US Ambassador 2019, and as an advocate for improving African American health disparities to empower as many people as she can to take control of their own breast health.
Through Rooted.Black Inc and Susan G. Komen Oregon and SW Washington, Arya and Komen staff organized the 2019 event called Afrodite. This event served as a celebration and breast cancer awareness mixer for the African American. Through Arya’s platform, she was able to reach the community in a new way and help bring to light important information on the breast cancer journey, research, and resources on early detection.
As a co-survivor, Arya advises others who are supporting their loved ones to become familiar with the following:
· Your loved one’s diagnosis
· Nutrition options
· Chemo appointments/Chemo brain
· Reconstructive surgery options
· Rediscovering yourself
Self-care is not only for those going through treatment but for those holding their hands. Arya wants others in her position to know that there is no shame in giving “oxygen” to yourself first. She emphasized this being a priority because there are many phases of the journey and it’s your health that will allow you to provide the necessary support to those who need you most.
“Think more than pink,” Arya says. “Think the unimaginable can happen because it can.”