Who We Are
Sisters Network Triangle NC is a 501c3 affiliate chapter of Sisters Network ®Inc., which is governed by an elected Board of Directors and is advised by an appointed medical advisory committee. We are the largest and only national Black breast cancer survivorship organization in the United States. Sisters Network Inc. is recognized globally as the leader in the Black Breast Cancer movement.
The organization’s purpose is to save Black women’s lives, support survivors, amplify awareness and dialogue about the Black Breast Cancer Crisis. The mission of Sisters Network Triangle NC (SNTNC) is to increase awareness of the devastating impact breast cancer has in the Black communities in and around Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, collectively known as the Triangle. SNTNC strives to achieve our mission through area outreach, by educating the underserved Black communities to encourage early breast cancer screening and we offer monthly support group meetings for current and post breast cancer survivors. These meetings allow individuals currently battling the disease to communicate with other breast cancer survivors who share their stories. The monthly support meetings also include medical and health care providers that share pertinent information regarding services that can possibly support breast cancer survivors.
Sisters Network Triangle NC welcomes you to join our meetings. Due to COVID 19 restrictions, SNTNC monthly support meetings are being conducted virtually until further notice. Please refer to our EVENTS section for support meeting information.
Portia Scott Hedgepeth, Interim President
Portia Scott Hedgepeth was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 1993 at the tender age of 31 years old. She credits her survivorship to the 3 P’s: Power, Positive Thinking, and Prayer. Sisters Network has provided her with a great support resource for Black women that was not available when she was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. In addition to being a 27 year survivor, one of her greatest Blessings was the birth of her daughter Maya – post breast cancer.
In 2015, Susan G. Komen Triangle presented Portia with the Jane Mosley “Keep Up the Fight” award for making a significant difference in the fight against breast cancer during the Race For the Cure event. Portia graduated from Ferrum College in Ferrum, Va., with a B.S. in Small Business Management and a minor in Public Relations. She currently works in Real Estate as a property management specialist.
Portia is an active member in Sisters Network Triangle, NC and a regular volunteer of the Tea for Two, The Block Walk, and Outreach events. She also coordinates the Breast Cancer Awareness program at her church and is a regular participant in the Triangle Race for the Cure.
Portia is a native and current resident of Durham where she resides with her husband Lionel and daughter Maya.
Shirley was born in Norfolk, Va and raised in Brooklyn NY, the 4th of 5 Children. Joined the Navy right after graduation from high school. She served 8 years active duty and 18 years reserve. Retired as a Navy Chief. Worked 37 years as a Federal civilian employee. She was pleased to work for various agencies in the Federal government
She received a BA in Business Administration from National University I earned my MBA in Business from The Naval Post Graduate School.
Her military and federal jobs have enabled me to travel within our country and overseas. I enjoyed working with personnel from different countries and cultures.
She is a member of Blacks in Government, Government Finance Officers Association, American Legion Post 310, Body of Christ Praise Group, and Volunteer for Meals on Wheels,
She is a 4 year Breast Cancer Survivor, diagnosed in September 2016. Her niece assisted with the Sisters Network Triangle block walk in 2017. She passed on Shirley’s information. It was great to find an organization that met the specific needs of black women going through the struggle. She was glad to find an outlet to support others as well. She enjoys being part of Sisters Network and is honored to work in any capacity to help the organization along.
Carla D. Lewis, Treasurer
Carla D. Lewis, recognized in 1994 as an African American Business Professional, Carla earned her BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her MBA from Strayer University.
She is a two time Breast Cancer survivor, (2013 and 2017), who relies on Jeremiah 29:11 to keep her centered and focused throughout her cancer journey. “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.
Carla is a Registered Tax Return Preparer with over thirty years of accounting experience. She has held numerous Treasurer Positions. Among these is Treasurer, HHS Class of 1984. Treasurer of Board of Directors, Genesis Home (1997 -1998), and Treasurer, Nicole 4 Apex Town Council Campaign (2013-2021).
She is an active member of Sisters Network Triangle and a member of Durham Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta.
Coleen Crespo, Secretary
Coleen Crespo was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in Fayetteville, NC, the oldest of seven children of a military family. She resides in Durham, N.C. and has one son, Iverson D. Trollinger, III. She is a breast cancer survivor, experiencing chemotherapy, a mastectomy, plastic surgery, and involved in multiple clinical trials though out this process.
She has earned a B.S. in chemistry with biology minor; and a Master of Information Science from North Carolina Central University. She is certified in Clinical Trials – Data Management. With greater than 20 years of professional experience, she is employed at PPD, a leading global contract research organization, as a Senior Clinical Data Team Lead.
Coleen has participated in numerous grant/protocol reviews for numerous scientific/medical, non-profit, and state and federal organizations.
She currently serves on the North Carolina Advisory Committee on Cancer Coordination and Control.
She serves as a co-chair of the Patient Advocate Committee and co-chair of the Health Disparities Education Work Group for the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology.
The Alliance is a national clinical trials network sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. It seeks to reduce the impact of cancer on people by uniting a broad community of scientists and clinicians committed to discovering, validating and disseminating effective strategies for the prevention and treatment of cancer.
She is an active member of Sisters Network Triangle NC. Coleen remains an active member of her local community and volunteers in her Church.
Renee Bowser Wardlaw has been a staunch advocate for cancer survivors since she was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in 2008.
In 2018, Renee was recognized by Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) with the North Carolina State Sunrise Award. Since 2013, she has volunteered with LGFB at Duke Regional Hospital as the LGFB Site Coordinator/Site Manager. LGFB is a free public service program for women cancer patients.
Renee was raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. She currently resides in Durham, North Carolina with her husband, Ricardo. They have two children. Jamal who lives in San Antonio, Texas with his wife, Brittney and their two children. Robin, her step-daughter who lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina with her two children.
She has two Associate Degrees, one from Central Piedmont Community College and the other one from Durham Technical Community College. She also attended East Carolina University and The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Renee is an active member of Union Baptist Church Cancer Survivor Support Missionary Group that is designed to support and to educate the church family and community about cancer. Renee is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She is employed by Duke University Health System as a Duke Health Technology Solutions Customer Service Center Device Support Analyst at Duke Regional Hospital.
Renee attributes cancer to her love for God’s nature as that is where she finds solace. She enjoys photography and her love for nature is reflected in her photos. She encourages those going through cancer treatment to have faith and know that God will enable them to endure.
Sisters Network, Inc. is the first national African American breast cancer survivorship organization in the United States. Established in 1994 by Karen E. Jackson, founder, national President and three time breast cancer survivor. Sisters Network, Inc. has become a nationally recognized organization within the medical community and a critical resource for African American women fighting breast cancer. Sisters Network Inc. currently has 25 affiliate chapters nationally consisting of over 3000 survivors and associates.
The Sisters Network Triangle North Carolina (SNTNC) affiliate chapter, a 501(c) 3 was established in 2003 by six breast cancer survivors. The founding members led by Valarie C. Worthy (past president) include Dean J. Johnson, Brenda Phillips, Jackie Thorpe-Hollingsworth (deceased), Jo Ann Blackston (deceased) and Liz Cofer. These survivors saw the need for a breast cancer support system that would cater to the needs of Black women. Currently, the Triangle chapter has over 125 members consisting of survivors, supporters and associates. Greensboro is host to the only other chapter in North Carolina.
Our chapter meets monthly to offer support, compassion, education and a safe haven free of stigma to newly diagnosed breast cancer patient, survivors, supporters and associates. SNTNC offers various means of support to our members and the Triangle community by way of annual outreach events.
Our annual Tea for Two Pink Ribbon Awareness Campaign reaches over 5000 women through partnering with area churches and faith groups. The women, dressed in pink or church attire enjoy lunch, inspirational messages, entertainment and fellowship. Each church in attendance receives a package containing pink ribbons, breast health literature and information cards to share with the women in their church. Tea for Two typically attracts over 100 area churches.
Each fall we support the nationally sponsored Gift for Life Block Walk and Health Fair. This event targets an underserved community by canvassing door-to-door to distribute educational breast health information and we share our stories with community.
Sisters Network is committed to increasing local and national attention to the divesting impact that breast cancer has in the Black community. We encourage monthly self-breast examinations, annual mammograms and clinical breast exams as the best defense against breast cancer. Thank you for your support in helping SNTNC reach our goal of educating Black women in the Triangle area about breast cancer and support our fight against this divesting disease.