A Message from the President

Dear Friends and Partners

Founded in 2001, The Olive Branch of Hope (TOBOH) is the first and
only organization that we are aware of in Canada with a focus on
Women of African Ancestry (WAA) diagnosed and living with cancer.
We forged a path forward and struggled to get the attention of the
mainstream organizations and stakeholders to get them to recognize
that we matter, that all women matter when it comes to breast cancer.

 

We learned that pioneers are the ones who do the heavy lifting, we
are the ones that carved out a path for others to follow. It was difficult
but we did it. Twenty years and still quite a way to go, but here we are.

 

Our goal is to ensure that Women of African Ancestry here and around the world have the best fighting chance after a diagnosis of breast cancer. Treatment is definitely one obstacle,
but Second to treatment is the emotional, spiritual, financial and social challenges that she faces, not to mention having to care for others throughout this difficult journey.

 

We help women rebuild through our E.A.S.E program, Education, Awareness, Support and Empowerment. Emotionally we help women sort through the roller coaster ride of treatment and face the world with renewed strength and vitality. Spiritually we remind them that they
are Uniquely Amazing women who are fearfully and wonderfully made by their creator and He has a specific plan for each of their lives in spite of their diagnosis. Financially we guide them and sometimes provide tangible support. Socially we help them connect with others
who have been on the journey through our TOBOHvine Supportive care Program.


We could not survive for twenty years without the unwavering support of the entire community. You have stood by us, supported us, attended our events, and most of all you cared. Thank you. To all our board members past and present, volunteers, past and present and friends we appreciate your commitment to standing with us over the years. The pain and trauma that interrupted my life with a cancer diagnosis birthed a passion in me to help others. The years following amid the setbacks, challenges, moments of discouragement forced me to persevere knowing that there would be others behind me
needing the support that we offer. Persistence meant we could not give up, we did not give up and here we are.


Our search for information to help us deliver evidenced based information led us to form a partnership with Professor Dr. Juliet Daniel a scientist at McMaster University who discovered the breast cancer gene “Kaiso” and who is working to uncover the mystery
behind the reason Women of African Ancestry develop the more aggressive strain of breast cancer known as triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Our partnership gained us the 2020 President’s Award for Community Partnership Leila Nicholls-Springer.

We are proud of our achievements from our first community research project “Shine The Light on Black Women’s Health” to our most recent “Think Beyond Love Pink” Breast Cancer and Awareness campaign which began in 2016 and is quickly becoming very popular as we partner and collaborate with other community agencies to shine the light on black women’s breast health. This series has extended to the Caribbean where we have conducted education seminars as well in Barbados and Jamaica. We continue to share resources with these women as many of our roots are in the Caribbean and where also
much of our research is being done.


We have learned a lot in twenty years, but the journey is not yet over, we can’t get comfortable, every woman’s life is important. We see this even more as the pandemic seem to keep us all in check forcing us to find new ways to deliver our vital service.


It has been an incredible journey and you have been there with us. Thank you so very much for your continued support.

Together we will thrive and survive.

 

Leila Nicholls-Springer

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