( ENSPIRE COMMUNITY ) Carmelita Jeter’s Race for Breast Cancer Awareness Continues Known as the Fastest Woman Alive. Carmelita “The Jet” Jeter is the top American sprinter with three Olympic medals and world record holder. Life is filled with unexpected twists and turns and as human beings we have nothing but a split second to choose how we can live the rest of our life based on trials and tribulations. I had the opportunity to talk with her about her role as a breast cancer advocate, her insights on awareness and what she has going on. I felt it was important to get her point of view and story across so it can reach those who maybe unaware. Ese: What motivated you to become a Breast Cancer Awareness advocate? Carmelita: They always say something has to touch close to home to be aware or apart of something. It’s true and that was my case. I knew nothing, I was not a breast cancer activist. In 2009 it home for me, my Aunt Brenda Washington was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. It made you look at it differently. I was not educated, I didn’t think black people could get. I never really heard of African Americans getting breast cancer. I really was not educated. I had to start to know what was going on because now its home, its in my house. I spoke to Nike, and asked if they could make me a special pink spike. They made me a spike that It was not for sale, no one else would be wearing it and that represented my Aunt Brenda from the time she fought her fight to past her fight was over. E: Tell us about your experience sharing your story and trying to inform and educate everyone else. C: As she was fighting it was easier for me to share my story. I was more energetic and happy because she was fighting. In 2012 when she passed away it was hard because I loved this woman. It made me question my faith. I was emotional when I did interviews. I caught more people’s attention because they could feel my pain. It made more people pay attention to more to the issue as well as my story. E: What other type of campaigns have you been involved with? C: I tried to do so much stuff in honor of my Aunt. I started with Susan G. Komen and then Nike sponsored my shirts. The first year was the most emotional, she passed away the morning of the run. I didn’t think anyone was going to show up. I didn’t want to show up. My fans and so many people wanted to do it. My pr was calling me and I said I cannot do this. My cousin, my Aunt’s daughter said suck it up your gonna do this. Now this is the daughter of my Aunt who just lost her mother. If she is saying she is going to do it, then I have no reason not to. The first year we did it without her. My Aunt was supposed to be there. As the years went on it was great, we made it a family thing. Everything was jus amazing. I started first with my event, then I became an ambassador for Susan G. Komen’s California Circle of Promise Initiative designed to promote breast cancer awareness among African American women. Then I wanted to do things with smaller campaigns who did not have the money like Susan G. Komen.
E: What tips can you suggest for people to be more informed about breast cancer based on your experiences?
C: Visit your local doctor. Go see what they have up as far as meetings, web sites and ways to check yourself. Go up to the actual clinic near your home, get the information and make your own flyer to your family. You sending it to your family every three months or every other month means you are getting your family involved. You are educating them, so many are not educated. I met girls who were 19 or 20 who have or has breast cancer because they think it only happens when your older. Take fifteen minutes to talk to your family and let them know what is going on. I feel like a lot of families don’t spend time with each other any more, its about social media. If they take ten minutes out a day it can help so many people.
E: Where can our audience find you and what do you have going on?
C: Everyone can go to my site carmelitajeter.com or on Instagram @jetg5. One of the next events I have coming up is a speaking engagement with Girls Build LA. I’m going to host and be motivating and talking. Giving the best pep talk I can. The following week I will be in Atlanta with Pretty Girls Sweat for a Breast Cancer Awareness fitness event and it’s about self defense. I’m really excited how they tied it together because breast cancer is a fight. I love how they incorporate that. When you have family or friends it’s a fight and you have to be ready mentally and physically. Ready to non stop kick ass. I love educating and telling my story. You’re not the only one, it happened it to me. They are not the only one who questioned their faith and then got back on track.
E: That is exactly what ENSPIRE is all about. There are so many people out there struggling and feel they are the only ones. This is a great example.
Carmelita continues to invest her time in her community and philanthropic endeavors. After her Aunt was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, Carmelita made it her mission to help fight for the cure. Carmelita also takes part in After-School All-Stars and Each One-Teach One organizations, where she spends time mentoring and encouraging youth. In 2014, Carmelita launched her first Track Clinic attracting over 100 kids to learn about health and fitness while honoring their track skills. A world record setter on the track with an even bigger heart, Carmelita continues to use her personal experience and platform to give back to the community.