Tradition of Excellence

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Del. Cancer Survivor Awarded Citizens Medal

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Reported by: Pat Ciarrocchi, CBS3

At The White House Wednesday, Cynthia M. Church of Wilmington, Delaware found herself on stage right next to the President of the United States.

Cynthia is one of 13 winners of the nation’s second highest civilian honor, the 2010 Citizens Medal.

“For 40 years,” President Obama said, “this medal has been given to men and women who have performed exemplary deeds of service for this country or their fellow citizens.”

Cynthia’s service grew out of her own pain.

In 1991, Cynthia, who is African American, discovered that she had breast cancer. The experience of mastectomy, chemotherapy and follow up drug therapy opened her eyes to the needs of other women in the African American community. She learned that statistically they were diagnosed at a later stage of disease, making their rates of survival smaller.

Cynthia founded “Sisters on a Mission,” a breast cancer support network for African American women in Delaware.

In an exclusive interview from The White House lawn, Cynthia told Eyewitness News “I’ve been doing a lot of work for the last 15 years, so I was really, really happy that it has not gone unnoticed. We’ve been able to help many women understand what breast cancer is, its risk factors and how to help themselves through the process.”

President Obama’s presentation of the Citizens Medal was a day to remember.

“When he presented the medal, it was so overwhelming,” said Cynthia. “It was an awesome experience.”

But not intimidating. Cynthia and the President exchanged a few words.

“He said, ‘thank you for the work you’ve been doing’ and I told him that we had been able to help quite a few women as they were diagnosed with breast cancer and that we were going to continue our mission to reach out and touch as many women as we could and fight breast cancer one woman at a time.”

Cynthia is a 19 year breast cancer survivor, who has lost both breasts, undergone chemotherapy and now is breast cancer free and off medication.

For every woman, including her African American sisters, Cynthia says early detection is the key to survival.

For more information on Sisters on a Mission, Inc, please visit


Written by Symphony

August 12, 2010 at 9:05 am

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