When This Seattle Singer Couldn’t Find Any Breast Cancer Resources For Black Women She Created Her Own

Bridgette Hempstead breast cancer survivor

Bridgette Hempstead with a certificate of recognition as the “Empress of Early Detection, Sisterhood and Survivorship” from Seattle Seafair.

Bridgette Hempstead is a force of nature.

In 1996, Hempstead refused to take “no” for an answer after a Seattle-area doctor told her not to worry about getting a mammogram. She knew something was terribly wrong.

“When my doctor examined me, she mentioned that there was no family history of breast cancer, and since I was 34 years old and African-American I wouldn’t need a mammogram. She told me not to worry and to come back after 10 years. When I asked her again, this time in a very urgent tone, if I could get a mammogram, the tone in my voice and face told her that I was very serious, and to appease me she scheduled me for a mammogram,” Hempstead said.

Her suspicions were confirmed; the mammogram showed signs of abnormalities. The little knowledge she gained in her situation also gave her concerns.

“I was looking up everything I could to find out about breast cancer,” Hempstead said. For African American women, Hempstead said there was even less information available. “There were no resources for black women. What do they do? What are they talking about?”