Why I box
WHO I AM
Hi there! My name is LaShyra Nolen, but all my friends call me “Lash”. I am a fourth-year dual degree student at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and next year will become the first doctor in my family. It may seem strange for a future physician to step into the ring, but I truly believe this fight represents the one I will take on for the rest of my life. Now leading up to October 12th, I am joining Haymakers on a journey to literally fight to improve the lives of my patients (present and future), loved ones, and all those impacted by cancer—in the name of health equity. I hope that you’ll join me!
WHY I FIGHT—My Loved Ones & Patients
While caring for patients as a medical student I have seen firsthand the devastating impact cancer can have on one’s life. The malignancy of the illness spreads to every aspect of patients’ lives and creates devastating personal, financial, and hidden struggles in every direction. I have seen these struggles in the hospital, but I have also seen them personally with how cancer has impacted my own family and friends.
Therefore, when I step into the ring I am fighting for my grandfather—the most loyal and hardworking man I know— who survived prostate cancer.
I am fighting for my “honorary grandparents” Sonya and Thomas—the most loving, gracious, and God-fearing people I know—who survived breast cancer and prostate cancer (respectively).
I am fighting for my beloved mentor—the person that inspired my passion for health equity and public health—who survived breast cancer.
I am fighting for every patient and research participant I have had the honor to care for and be in community with during my time as an undergraduate student and now, medical student.
I am fighting for every life lost to cancer due to systemic inequities caused by our country’s history of systemic racism and oppression.
WHY I FIGHT—Health Equity
Cancer impacts everyone, but can have a disproportionately negative impact on those from marginalized and minoritized communities. As a Black woman and future healer, I believe it is critically important to raise awareness about the persistent racial health disparities that exist in cancer treatment/support, clinical trial representation, screening, and outcomes.
For example, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Black individuals have the highest age-adjusted cancer mortality rate in the United States. Many studies indicate that this is related to systemic barriers such as lack of access to insurance and racial biases that lead to delayed cancer screening and treatment. Environmental factors rooted in systemic inequities such as chemicals in the environment and stress, may also be related to some of these trends. To better understand the nuances behind these disparities, there must be increased diversity in cancer-related clinical trials and financial support for research to understand better how cancer impacts those of the African diaspora. For example, triple-negative breast cancer has been found to have a higher prevalence in Black women of West and East African ancestry, but more research is needed to more clearly understand this connection and those that might not have yet been made.
Therefore, I want to also dedicate my fight to raising awareness about these disparities and uplifting the incredible organizations doing work to address them.
To learn more about racial disparities in cancer screening and treatment please check out the following: https://www.kff.org/racial-equity-and-health-policy/issue-brief/racial-disparities-in-cancer-outcomes-screening-and-treatment/
WHO I AM FUNDRAISING FOR—Sisters Network Incorporated and The Ellie Fund
Considering breast cancer is the most common cancer that affects women (except for skin cancer) and has had a significant impact on the women in my life, I am dedicating my fundraising to support two phenomenal organizations doing great work to support Black and low-income women undergoing breast cancer treatment and recovery—Sisters Network Incorporated and The Ellie Fund.
Sisters Network Incorporated’s mission is to, “increase local and national attention to the devastating impact that breast cancer has in the African American community”. Specifically, I hope to support their Breast Cancer Assistance Program (BCAP) which is a “national financial assistance program that provides financial assistance to breast cancer survivors in active treatment. Since its inception, BCAP has provided over $1.2 million dollars in financial assistance and mammogram/ultrasound support to uninsured women. The program also has an early detection component providing mammograms for underserved and uninsured women.”
The Ellie Fund supports those undergoing treatment in Massachusetts and their mission is to, “provide essential support services for breast cancer patients to ease the stresses of everyday life, allowing the focus to be on family, recovery, and healing. Providing transportation to medical appointments, light housekeeping, nutritional and grocery assistance, childcare reimbursement, nutritious prepared/delivered meals, and integrative therapy services free of charge through our Healing Together Patient and Family Care Program and Metastatic Breast Cancer Support Program help to relieve a patient’s burden while in treatment”.
I feel so honored to get to support both of these inspiring organizations and uplift the stories of the incredibly brave people in my life that continue to inspire me as they fight to live cancer free every day. Please follow me on social media as I document my journey and share resources I hope will help us all knock out cancer—in the name of health equity!
Belles of the Brawl X
October 12, 2023 @ 07:30 PM
MGM Music Hall at Fenway
2 Lansdowne St, Boston, MA 02215
137 Donations MadeSee all
142% of goal
5 months ago
141% of goal
5 months ago
Super proud of you Lash! Thank you So much for all that you do! Blessings, Denise
141% of goal
5 months ago
So proud of you! Keep up the fight - spiritually, mentally, and physically!!!!! You are the epitomizes of a champion!