Desirée was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 38 with a recurrence at 47. Her diagnoses motivated her to become a patient advocate to share her talents and aid diverse communities. She uses her platform to be a voice for the voiceless and pay it forward by educating and empowering people around the world.
She serves as YSC’s Board President and is a member of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship’s (NCCS) Cancer Policy Advocacy Training Steering Committee; the Society of Integrative Oncology’s (SIO) Patient Advocate and the Health Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committees; and the NCI SWOG Recruitment and Retention and Patient Advocate Committees, among many others. She also facilitates support groups for women of African descent who are dealing with breast, ovarian or uterine cancer. Through SHARE’s Side by Side Program, Desirée trains medical students and doctors on how to deliver disappointing news and vehemently supports the importance of patient/doctor communication. She also serves on Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Community Advisory Board and co-chairs the Patient and Family Advisory Council.
Desirée has appeared on ABC World News with Dr. Richard Besser, CBS with Dana Tyler, NBC’s TODAY Show, The Good Fight with Pat Battle, Here and Now with Sandra Bookman, The Breakfast Club with DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God and NBC’s Weekend Today in New York. She and her daughter, Shayna, appear in SHAPE Magazine’s article, “Breast Cancer: A Family Affair.” She also appeared in the Ralph Lauren 20th and 21st Anniversary Pink Pony campaigns.
She is a graduate of the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s (NBCC) Project LEAD® and has attended numerous NBCC Hill Days. Desirée has been a consumer reviewer for the Department of Defense's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, a patient reviewer for PCORI and a community partner reviewer on the Cornell Center for Health Equity Pilot Studies Review Committee. As a patient and research advocate, she brings her experience to a team of cancer researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Desirée has been honored for her outstanding work as a volunteer, community leader and health educator. She is the recipient of NBCC’s Grassroots Advocacy Award, African Women Cancer Awareness Association’s Torch Bearer Award, the NAACP Parkchester Branch’s Woman of the Year Award and YSC’s Game Changer Award.
She feels blessed to enjoy time with family and friends and bakes gourmet bread pudding. She is a foodie, enjoys traveling, the performing arts and sporting events.