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The Cancer Divide: Tackling a Racial Gap in Breast Cancer Survival

The New York Times: Health   December 20, 2013
by TARA PARKER-POPE

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Ms. Reid practicing with members of Sassy Seniors, a dance group she founded, at her home in Memphis.Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

MEMPHIS — After her doctor told her two months ago that she had breast cancer, Debrah Reid, a 58-year-old dance teacher, drove straight to a funeral home. She began planning a burial with the funeral director and his wife, even requesting a pink coffin.

Sensing something was amiss, the funeral director, Edmund Ford, paused. “Who is this for?” he asked. Ms. Reid replied quietly, “It’s for me.”

Aghast, Mr. Ford’s wife, Myrna, quickly put a stop to the purchase. “Get on out of here,” she said, urging Ms. Reid to return to her doctor and seek treatment. Despondent, Ms. Reid instead headed to her church to talk to her pastor.

“I was just going to sit down and die,” she says.

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