Photo Credit: Fight Through Flights
Fight Through Flights Offers Black Women Affected By Breast Cancer Free Travel Experiences
Fight Through Flights was launched in August 2020 by sisters Alicia Tambe (32, of Washington, DC) and Esther Tambe (34, of New York.) The organization empowers and supports the healing of Black women living with breast cancer, as well as those who have survived the illness, through free travel and wellness experiences.
The co-founders were inspired to create their organization after losing both their sister and cousin to stage four breast cancer.
“It really shook up our family,” said the sisters, “but it also opened our eyes to this silent killer in our community. We didn’t realize just how much breast cancer impacted Black women. One thing we all did was bond through travel and wellness experiences, so we wanted to focus on that. There are Black women out there putting in the work already, raising awareness and building community. We wanted to support these efforts by focusing on areas that we know and excel in.”
As a registered dietician and owner of Esther Tambe Nutrition, Esther has deep connections within the Black dietitian community and experience dealing with racial disparities in health communities. Alicia runs a luxury travel concierge, Luxe A Travels, and has years of experience planning trips. Their common passion for travel and their professional expertise guided them to the perfect way to achieve their mission.
Fight Through Flights is the only organization specializing in supporting women through breast cancer with free travel and wellness experiences. In addition to trips and retreats, they also provide mental health, nutrition, and physical fitness resources.
Considering the alarming statistics regarding breast cancer in Black women, it is obvious the community can benefit greatly from a program of this type. Breast cancer mortality rates are 40% higher among Black women than white women. Black women are even three times more likely to develop triple-negative breast cancer, which is a very aggressive form of breast cancer.
“The statistics are shocking. Breast cancer is already concerning when you think about the fact that one out of every eight women has it. But Black women face significant racial disparities and are more likely to die at every stage of diagnosis. Black women have the lowest survival rate of all racial and ethnic groups.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic preventing and complicating air travel for the past year and a half, Fights Through Flights has had to adapt to the changes in the travel world. Keeping their programs local and socially distanced for the time being has been the best way to prioritize their participants’ safety and well-being.
“We are glad we did, because doing so allowed us the opportunity to get to know these women personally. Instead of planning a retreat for 20 women, we had to plan 20 individual trips.”
Fight Through Flights’ Roadtrip to Recovery provides Black women living with breast cancer and breast cancer survivors with a travel experience close to home, but far enough from their daily routine. Whether they are watching movies in a hotel room or checking-in to a remote cabin or lodge, the trips give women the opportunity to disconnect and enjoy.
Recipients may bring their caregiver, as they are an important party of any cancer journey. In addition to the trip, each recipient receives five virtual therapy sessions, five virtual personal training sessions, and five virtual nutrition sessions.
Staycation Serenity is similar to Roadtrip to Recovery, however this program allows recipients to escape reality in the comfort of their own home. This experience usually happens over two days. Whether it is a private dinner prepared by a chef, a French wine tasting, or a transformed oasis in their living room or backyard, they are able to enjoy an opportunity to relax and recharge.
Fight Through Flights will soon be opening applications for a leadership retreat, exclusively for founders of nonprofits and collectives focused on supporting Black women. They have launched a Pinkation initiative and are hoping to receive a few donated hotel stays from some pink hotels across the country. The organization will also soon be launching a new program, Just Breathe, which will providing one-night hotel accommodation reimbursements.
“Sometimes you need to escape from the space, the kids, your home, the stresses and just think. Just Breathe is a night to figure it out, and drive to visit a relative or friend for the night. There is no itinerary, nothing planned; the goal is to allow you space to just breathe.”
The experience of serving so many Black women affected by breast cancer through their organization has been rewarding for Alicia and Esther in more ways than one. Through their programs, Fight Through Flights has been able to support over 25 Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, from home chefs and Reiki instructors to virtual paint and sips, and even virtual cooking classes in Nairobi, Kenya. The sisters said their recipients have been so supportive and grateful for their mission.
“Two of our recipients were even mother and daughter. Seeing these women take their trip together, seeing other women take that anniversary trip they never got to take with their husbands because of chemo rounds, or even watching them celebrate their birthdays and cancerversaries means the absolute world. Wellness is such a huge part of treatment. Your mind and spirit have to be right to fight.”
Individuals interested in supporting Fight Through Flights’ cause may donate or simply help spread the word. Hotels or providers of services and wellness experiences are welcome to donate stays or services. This includes personal training sessions, registered dietitians, therapy sessions, etc.
“We will also be looking into ways to donate miles as we feel more comfortable with travel during COVID, however, right now we are focused on providing local experiences and getaways.”
The organization will soon be seeking ambassadors for the organization, but will look to first start with women who have experienced their programs in the past.
“We want them to represent us but also help guide us because they are the ones who are going through this. For women who have breast cancer and are looking to get away, we will be announcing additional program opportunities this month.”