Trials of Color, Recipient

When Sharon River-Sanchez founded Trials of Color, she’d beaten triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive and difficult-to-treat form of breast cancer. Sadly, her brother had been diagnosed with colon cancer and passed away just 37 days after his diagnosis. River-Sanchez’s personal experiences of victory and loss fueled her passion to encourage more minority people to participate in clinical trials, as well as to educate and advocate about breast and colon cancers. “Besides educating people about cancer, we also teach people to advocate for themselves. If the doctor wants to keep you overnight, find out why,” said River-Sanchez. “Always ask what the next step is. Know what’s happening at your next appointment. Call the doctor; don’t hesitate to ask any questions. You are your best advocate.” River-Sanchez said colon cancer especially is not talked about enough. But a one-of-a-kind walk-in inflatable tent shaped like a colon is helping end the stigma and raise awareness. People who walk inside can see what a polyp looks like and what a removal procedure entails. “‘Get Your Butt Check’ is my message to everyone,” River-Sanchez continued. “It’s very important we get ourselves checked, especially when you have family history or if you have symptoms. No matter what, everyone still needs to get checked for colon cancer.” T-shirts for a cause: A canvas for diversity Photo collage showing person standing by branded banners. Trials of Color spotlights a significant gap in clinical trials: Black and Brown people make up only 4 to 5% of trial participants. Trials of Color works to increase minority participation, helping to ensure research and treatments are effective for all. Receiving a 4imprint one by one grant helped expand outreach to more people. River-Sanchez used the grant to order T-shirts imprinted with a pink ribbon for breast cancer, a blue ribbon for colon cancer, the Trials of Color phone number and the phrase “End the Disparity in Cancer Community.” Supporting cancer warriors one coin at a time River-Sanchez also founded Saving Pennies 4 A Cure, a sister organization to Trials of Color. Saving Pennies 4 A Cure encourages people to donate spare change, as a dime here and a nickel there add up. Donations go toward creating care packages for breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The baskets are filled with personal care items to help make life easier. Information about chemotherapy side effects is also included and helps ease patients’ anxiety. River-Sanchez and other cancer survivors help lift patients’ spirits by personally delivering the baskets. “There’s nothing like talking to a survivor who’s been there, done that,” said River-Sanchez. “We can say, ‘I get what it’s like to have your hair fall out. I get the tears. I get what you’re going through.’”

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