Throughout October, we’ll be featuring powerful advocates from the YSC community. They come from diverse backgrounds, and each have unique approaches to advocacy. There’s no one way to be an advocate; we hope these profiles will inspire you on your advocacy journey.
Name: Amy Wu
Age at diagnosis: 37
Age now: 41
Location: New York
What is your advocacy focus?
One the areas I focus on is bringing more attention and awareness to Asian-American women diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m a reporter, so my outputs tend to use those skills, like writing for traditional and social media.
What are the biggest issues in this area for young women?
As a Chinese-American young survivor I identify these challenges and thoughts:
- Culturally little to no discussion of breast cancer creates isolation and depression
- Little to no representation of Asians at conferences, gatherings and even support groups
- Severe lack of print and social media materials and channels that represent Asian women
Addressing the above means Asians can be better represented when it comes to education, outreach and conferences, and eventually advocacy.
How did you first get involved with advocacy?
During my diagnosis and treatment I decided to use my writing and journalistic skills to try to make a difference. I documented my journey by blogging for the South China Morning Post in the hopes of reaching out and educating other young women with this message: they should get themselves checked and listen to their bodies because there’s no such thing as too young.
Who do you advocate for – yourself? A friend or family member? Your community? Let us know by joining our social media campaign, #ImAdvocatingFor.
If you could have one advocacy-related superpower, what would it be and why?
I’d like to be in the role of policy making at a state or national level, so I’d have the ability to create policy that would support funding and outreach focused on young women and breast cancer. Not enough money and attention goes to this segment of the population, since it is overall a much smaller percentage compared to women 50 and over.
Tell us about something you’ve accomplished or taken part in that you’re proud of.
I am proud that I proposed, created and gave a workshop entitled “Writing Your Way to a Healthier you,” at YSC’s conference in Oakland. It was wonderful to be able to share the ways that writing can help heal and also be a channel for advocacy with other young breast cancer survivors. Many went away with their journal and a smile on their face.
What’s your advice for someone looking to get started?
I am overall a more introverted person (alas writers are that way) so I never thought I’d be an advocate before being diagnosed, but the silver lining is breast cancer brought the advocate out of me. Anyone can be an advocate, it has everything to do with your interest, passion, sincerity and where your heart is. You start by just jumping in and getting involved as much as you’d like and to where your comfort zone is.
How do you cope after a tough day?
I like to unwind by a leisurely swim, a glass of good wine, or a good movie. I also like to connect with good friends over a glass of wine or beer.