This past June 3, Charmil Y. Davis was hosting the National Gun Violence Day in Newark, which was commemorating the horrific Newark schoolyard killings in 2007. This event was the nine-year anniversary of the deaths of the three college students who were killed execution-style after being robbed. Davis was asked to be the representative for Shalga P. Hightower, who was the mother of Iofemi Hightower. Iofemi Hightower was one of the victims who lost her life.
As Davis was returning home, she felt terribly ill and she didn’t understand what was happening to her. She then decided to visit the RWJ Hospital in New Brunswick. She reports she was denied service and was only seen after she threatened to go to the media. The journalist and former White House correspondent was not going to be easily placated. “After my threats to call the media or my primary care physician, I was promised a colonoscopy within 10 days,” Davis told the Amsterdam News. “The day of my colonoscopy, I was told that a mass was found in my colon and I must wait seven days for a biopsy.”
When her results came in, she was diagnosed with stage IIIb colon cancer. Along with that, she was diagnosed with Lynch syndrome cancer. “I inherited the colon cancer,” she said. “My aunt and both of my great aunts were diagnosed with Lynch syndrome cancer.”
She said that she was told of this history after she underwent genetic testing. Several of her family members have lost their lives to all types of cancer. With this history in mind, Davis now encourages people to get a colonoscopy and a genetic testing, especially if they have more than one immediate family member who has been diagnosed with cancer.
“Not a lot of people know, but cancer can be treated by early detection, being enlightened on your family history, and taking care of your body,” she said.
After being hospitalized for almost five weeks, Davis said that she decided to start her own fundraiser to bring awareness to colon cancer and Lynch syndrome. She also partnered with Mike Hollis, who is the manager of the Brooklyn Nets, and is currently looking for other partnerships with local businesses. By the time she reaches age of 50, she wants her fundraiser to go national. Colon cancer is known to be rare in young African-American women.. Davis added that African-American women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast and pancreatic cancers. Unfortunately, certain diseases are inherited. As far back as her great grandparents, Davis’ family has a long history of all different types of cancer.
She is now a survivor of stage IIIb colon cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. “Chemotherapy is very hard,” said Davis. “However, I can’t allow it to stop my mission to bring awareness to these diseases and save lives.”
But this treatment isn’t necessarily affordable. According to costhelperhealth.com, chemotherapy treatments can range from $900 to $15,000. Besides paying hospital bills, patients must set aside funds to change their eating habits, which can be costly as well.
“Knowing your rights, advocating for yourself, positive thinking, realistic goal setting, and get out and live your life,” said Davis. “When you don’t feel good, rest! But when you do, take advantage.”
On Dec. 7, the Brooklyn Nets will be playing the Denver Nuggets. This game will also be a fundraiser for Charmil Y. Davis. The game will start at 7:30 p.m.. Later that evening, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams’ office will honor The Charmil Y. Davis Colon Cancer Fund with a proclamation at Jay Z 40/40 club. Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane D. Williams will be in attendance. Mr. Cheeks and Brand Nubian are performing, and Nayaba Arinde, Amsterdam News editor, is being honored.
For more information, please contact email@example.com or check them out on Facebook. Charmil Y. Davis Fund.
The event is being produced by Liddy Combs Productions and Promotions Aliya Hunter.