Carmelita Jeter is one of the fastest women alive and is best known for two things: Olympic medals (she has three so far) and the pink cleats she began to wear after 2012. The reason behind her shoe choice is one that would be familiar to many Americans—someone she loved died of breast cancer, and Jeter wanted to create something positive from the experience in order to move forward and help others. Recently, Jeter spoke with Doctor’s Health Press about her history of breast cancer awareness advocacy with Nike and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
What Made You Want to First Get Involved with Breast Cancer Awareness?
My aunt, Brenda Washington, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. With it being so close to home it, emotionally tore me down and made me want to be more active.
Prior to Your Aunt’s Cancer, Did You Ever Have Involvement in Breast Cancer Awareness Activities?
Before, I didn’t think about breast cancer at all because I personally was not affected by it. Prior to my aunt getting diagnosed, I was not involved with any breast cancer activities. But after, I started getting involved and I gave it my all.
Can You Elaborate on Your Partnership with Nike—When and Why Did It Start? How Much Has the Pink Shoes Raised?
My partnership with Nike began in 2009. It wasn’t a partnership that raised money, but more so for awareness. In 2009, I was the first person to wear exclusive Hot Pink Track spikes that had my signature “Jet” on the back, and when I did an interview, I spoke on the reason why I wore them and how we needed to educate ourselves on the cause. I wore hot pink track spikes from 2009 to 2016. Whenever I did a kid’s clinic, spoke at breast cancer events, or any form of non-profit I would wear my “Team Jet” shirt sponsored by Nike. I was also sponsored by Aquahydrate, who sponsored every event I was a part of with cases of water.
When Did Your Work with the Susan G. Komen Foundation Begin?
My work with Susan G. Komen began in 2009.
What Have You Done with Them in the Past?
I have been involved in many of their 5k running events with my family and fans. They all competed in Team Jet Nike shirts as well! I was also the ambassador for Circle of Promise, which was a program that helped African-American women get tested for breast cancer.
Are You Currently Doing Anything with Them This Month?
As of now, I have not done anything with Susan G. Komen, however I was able to collaborate with Khemo Buddy’s, whose approach is a little bit different. They create bags for outpatients who come in for chemotherapy. The items within these bags include crossword puzzles, pens, snacks, water and a blanket.
Can You Elaborate On “Khemo Buddy’s” — I Haven’t Encountered That Term Before.
Khemo Buddy’s is a non-profit organization that provides buddies for individuals going through chemotherapy treatment. This organization provides goodie bags with fun puzzle games, snacks and blankets for the patients use. The Khemo Buddy’s organization raises funds to provide these bags to various patients through selling unique bracelets.
A quote “Mind over Body,” inscribed on the bracelet serves as a reminder of the cause. Selling for $12 each, half of the proceeds went directly to Khemo Buddy’s, and I matched the donation in order for the organization to create 100 bags for the patients. I was able to deliver these bags to the hospital and interact with each of the patients going through chemotherapy.
Any Recommendations for People Who Want to Get Involved?
For someone that wants to get involved, I suggest finding a small organization in your city, an organization that does things because they believe and care. An organization that you can make a difference with by just being there.
This year, Jeter is helping to promote the Boarding for Breast Cancer app that provides an immediately accessible solution for women looking for personal wellness content, appointment reminders, and self-exam guides.