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Robert DesJarlait

When the emcee called for cancer survivors to come out to the floor at the 2013 Powwow for Hope, Robert DesJarlait (Red Lake Band of Chippewa) walked out to the shock of all those around him. “It was an emotional experience” Robert said, reflecting on his decision to go public for the first time about his cancer story.

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Donna Hanks

It was a routine colonoscopy that found Donna Hanks’s (White Earth) colon cancer in 2015. She had always followed normal screening guidelines and was shocked to find out her diagnosis. Donna sat down with AICAF to open up about her story for the first time so that others can understand the importance of regular colon cancer screening.

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Margie LaMorie

For the self-described “shaker-and-mover” Margie LaMorie (Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe), it didn’t really hit her that she had cancer when she was informed of the diagnosis in 2009. “I was like ‘get it out of me, I don’t have time for this.’ It’s an inconvenience.” Today, Margie is still moving and shaking as a 78-year-old colon cancer survivor that has traveled to Standing Rock six times.

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Johnny Nelson

Colorectal cancer survivor Johnny Nelson of the Navajo Nation encourages people to be proactive about colon cancer screening and cognizant of their health, emphasizing that “preventive measures are the way to go.” When he lost a younger sister and brother to both colon and stomach cancers, Johnny made it a priority to get routine colonoscopies every few years.

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Elnora Thompson

The first thing Elnora Thompson thought when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, was “Let’s get in there and get it out.” Elnora is a member of the of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and resides in Cherokee, North Carolina. Health screenings, including mammograms and paps, were always stressed by Elnora’s mother. There was a history of breast cancer in her family, two of her mother’s sisters had been diagnosed.

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Gerlinda Morrison

It was a late Friday afternoon before the Fourth of July weekend when Gerlinda Morrison, age 42 and member of the Crow Tribe, was fixing the fence with her husband. The phone rang and she put it on speaker for her husband to listen. It was her doctor on the phone to inform her she needed a follow up on her recent mammogram.

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Frances Tiger

The former First Lady of the Muscogee Creek Nation, Frances Tiger, knew what the symptoms of breast cancer are from being her mother’s caregiver during her journey with breast cancer. At the age of 60 in November 2014, Frances noticed a dimple and a lump the size of a pencil eraser in her left breast. She went in to see her OB/GYN and her doctor couldn’t find the lump, but Frances refused to leave until her doctor felt it.

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Melinda Buffalo-Wanatee

“You only get one shot at this. There’s no do overs,” said Melinda Buffalo-Wanatee of the Meskwaki Nation.

In 2015, Melinda found a lump on her right breast after a self-exam in the shower. By August, she had been formally diagnosed with stage I breast cancer. Breast cancer usually has no signs or symptoms at this stage, and tumors are often small and treatable.

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Jean Howard

“It’s okay to be scared,” says breast cancer survivor Jean Howard of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. “But we have to fight it with everything we have.”

“The Creator made us strong.”

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Emily Wheeler

For Emily Wheeler (Absentee Shawnee Tribe), being diagnosed with breast cancer, or any cancer for that matter, never seemed like a possibility. Naturally, Emily didn’t worry too much when she spotted a lump on her breast

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