PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In less than two weeks, thousands of people dressed in pink will take over the Portland waterfront.
The Susan G. Komen More Than Pink walk is on Sunday, September 22. This year, Komen is celebrating the four pillars of work the foundation does, including the action pillar with two local women taking action to help others.
“For me, action is the most important part of this battle,” said Tai Harden-Moore. “Because you have to be your own best advocate. No one knows your body better than you do.”
Harden-Moore is a wife, a mother, a law school graduate, and a forever fighter.
“My story started when I was 31,” said Harden-Moore. “It was the end of my first year of law school. I had a swollen right breast and I thought something weird was happening.”
After several weeks, the swelling had not gone down. She decided to go to the hospital.
“I was like, I know something is wrong here and they were pretty much dismissive of me,” said Harden-Moore. “So, I go to see the OBGYN and she took one look at me and she said, ‘I’m sorry honey, but you have breast cancer.'”
After 18 rounds of chemo, six weeks of radiation, and a bilateral mastectomy, Harden-Moore got the all clear.
It wasn’t until six years later that she received the devastating news that the cancer was back. It was Stage 4 and metastatic. She said she didn’t see it coming — her symptoms were non-traditional and doctors originally thought it was pneumonia. Once again, Harden-Moore had to push for a diagnosis.
“It took almost three months to get this diagnosis after a lung biopsy because I would not take ‘no’ for an answer,” said Harden-Moore. “Without me really pushing and advocating for myself, I would not be standing here today.”
Through support from her husband and family, Harden-Moore continues to fight — and encourage others to take action for their own health.
“It’s not a journey that you should walk alone,” she said. “It’s definitely something that you should seek support, and welcome that support and love that you get from your family and friends, and even strangers.”
This is something that Arya Morman is also passionate about after her own mother was diagnosed with Stage 2a, triple negative breast cancer. She is using her platform as Miss Black Oregon U.S. Ambassador to help families dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis face the battle ahead.
“Who was going to chemo with them? Who is it that’s going to help them with their clothing? What’s going to happen with their shelter? Are they going to be able to work? Are they going to be able to use insurance for that?” asked Morman.
“Let’s go ahead and create a team,” said Morman. “That way we’re making an action step towards being able to fight this disease.”
Both women are taking action and empowering others.
“They have a bold goal of eliminating breast cancer by 50% by 2026, so I’m in for that fight,” said Morman.