CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Today is the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
One study shows that breast and cervical cancer screenings dropped 94 percent in march in the US.
In June, breast cancer screenings were still 29 percent below pre-covid levels.
“I didn’t want another breast cancer survivor to go through what I went through,” said Zennie Bego, a 2x breast cancer survivor. “Going through breast cancer and not knowing if you’re going to live.”
Zennie Bego and Tonya Wilson are close friends, who have a bond unlike most.
“My only option was a mastectomy. There was no other option,” said Wilson.
“I didn’t have any community support,” said Bego.
Bego was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014… and again in 2017.
Feeling isolated during her battle with cancer, she started reaching out online.
“I noticed a lot of my friends on Facebook and on social media were dealing with breast cancer too,” she said. “So I reached out to them and asked will you help me start a foundation. An organization for breast cancer survivors to help them.”
And that’s how she met Wilson.
Wilson was diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine mammogram.
“You know once you hit 40, you have to get a mammogram every year,” said Wilson. “But I missed a year. And I love my doctor… she said ‘you’re procrastinating, I’m making the appointment for you.”
And that’s when her cancer was found.
The two friends are now president and vice president of a Charleston-based group called ‘Strong Sistahood-N-Pink’.
Now, they’re using their own experiences, to help other women fighting the same fight.
“I’ve gained a bunch of sisters who are still holding on and still strong and still fighting the good fight,” said WIlson. “Every year is still scary. When it’s time to get that mammogram… it’s ‘oh my God is it back. Oh my God is it coming back.’ So I just want to be there.”
“We have all gone through different paths of breast cancer treatments and what we went through,” said Bego. “Everyone has a different story to tell.”
With it being ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month,’ both Bego and Wilson want to encourage the public to get checked…
“I really want to encourage women to get your mammogram,” said Wilson. “This is what October is. It is breast cancer awareness month. I missed a year. I didn’t have a lump. But I got a mammogram and they found my cancer.”