Spring 2010 Issue

Hometown Hero

Andrea Ivory celebrates with CNN’s Anderson Cooper and her husband Willie Ivory at the third annual ‘CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute’ November 26, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California.

Andrea Ivory, a student in Barry’s School of Adult and Continuing Education (ACE), was among 10 finalists nominated for CNN’s 2009 Hero of the Year Award. While she was not selected as the overall winner, Ivory’s commitment to her community was proudly recognized by the network during its “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” which aired Thanksgiving night.

Ivory, a second-year student majoring in public administration, was nominated for the work she has done through the Florida Breast Health Initiative to raise awareness about breast cancer and to encourage women to get mammograms. It’s an issue that Ivory, 50, is all too familiar with. In 2004 she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and her experience led her to start the Florida Breast Health Initiative. Since 2006, Ivory and fellow volunteers have knocked on more than 18,000 doors across Miami informing women about breast cancer and early detection. She has helped provide more than 500 free mammograms to women.

“The only thing that we have to fight this disease and lower the mortality rate is early detection,” Ivory said. “We are the troops on the front lines. I can’t be a doctor, but I know I can save a life. Every time I knock on the door, it’s a chance to do that.”

Ivory and volunteers spend every weekend in the spring and fall visiting low-income communities in South Florida to educate women about breast cancer. Among the groups the Initiative focuses on are uninsured women 35 and older. This group, according to statistics, is twice as likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. One Saturday a month, Ivory partners with a hospital to bring a mobile mammography van into the communities so that women can take advantage of breast cancer screenings. “Those women don’t even have a fighting chance,” Ivory said. “Early detection is the best protection.”