How BHAF started
Breast Health Angels Foundations Inc. was conceptualized in 2015 when the founder Chika Okem Akwiwu announced on Social Media that she survived breast cancer. Then in March 2016 the company was officially founded as a result of the need and high demand for Breast Cancer Awareness and Education. She was diagnosed in 2010 at the age of 36 when her life was suddenly interrupted while in nursing school by a disease she now calls the familiar stranger. She was devastated, heartbroken and could not understand why of all things cancer could happen to her. She had no family history, a mother, wife, student and also the caregiver to her mother and deceased father who was in stage 4 kidney failure at that time. She later took a proactive and difficult decision to have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. The support of her husband, family and close friends brought her through.
In 2014, the vision of sharing her testimony was so strong but she quickly dismissed it because she felt vulnerable and culturally sharing such information publicly was not popular. Culturally they were taught to hide sicknesses and suffer silently because sicknesses were seen as a taboo or spiritually inflicted with negative connotations. However, in 2015, her mission, vision and a strong sense of purpose drove her public. She quickly dismissed her vulnerabilities and ignored cultural implications. It became about saving the lives of other women in her community and around the world through her advocacy programs. The very thought of saving lives if she shared her story engulfed her to action.
Oct 1st 2015 during National Breast Cancer Awareness, she went public and opened the flood gates. She has quickly become the Face, Voice and Resource for many people to ask about Breast Cancer. Her Advocacy Campaign on Social Media through her print and video blogs have orchestrated so much awareness, information and many first time mammograms and counting. The power of advocacy is evident in her life and so many other lives. Today, the women’s lives that are changed through her programs are growing daily.
As a result of her new sense of purpose, she founded a nonprofit organization BHAF (Breast Health Angels Foundation, Inc.). BHAF has Advocacy deeply embedded in its core because the Advocacy of her OBGYN, a two time breast cancer survivor, Dr. Jacqueline Walters saved her life and now she can save others. BHAF is unique because it combines her experience as a Breast Cancer Survivor with her training as a healthcare provider to Educate, Empower and Engage women worldwide. She is a strong advocate for Early Detection because it can make the difference between life and death.