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The Chrysalis Initiative

The Chrysalis Initiative

Dana Donofree
3 min read

Who is The Chrysalis Initiative?

The Chrysalis Initiative addresses the individual and institutional knowledge, attitudes and behaviors that impact health outcomes for Black women (and other disparate groups) with breast cancer. The vision of The Chrysalis Initiative is a world in which the color of one's skin does not create a barrier to quality health care.


How did The Chrysalis Initiative begin?

The Chrysalis Initiative was born from Jamil’s experiences offering guidance to women on how to thrive with breast cancer, even as she was actively receiving chemo herself. At only 39 years old, Jamil was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer de novo. The determination to fight and survive for her family launched her into vigorous research to understand and contend with breast cancer. The extensive research Jamil undertook along her own journey became the foundation of a lifelong commitment to exploring and enacting optimal and comprehensive breast cancer care.

Jamil went on to participate in numerous community health events which facilitated the design and funding of two metastatic clinical trials. This afforded her the opportunity to meet with leadership within the PA governor’s office and congressional leaders in D.C.

She became an advocate, using her knowledge base and experiences to help advance legislative policy, medical research, and customize support to better meet the needs of individuals who have breast cancer (particularly metastatic), Black patients and other disparate groups.

Jamil is Board President of METAvivor Research and Support, Inc, a Young Advocate Alum, and Board Member of Living Beyond Breast Cancer. She is a policy science and health equity advocate and metastatic advisory committee member with Susan G. Komen.

In addition, she is a member and patient advisor of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance. Jamil is also a Project LEAD graduate and proposal reviewer for the Breast Cancer Research program with the Department of Defense.

Jamil also testified to the FDA in order to connect many women with resources for screenings, treatment, and support. She has been featured in People Magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Tribune, national campaigns for Anthropologie, Novartis, Pfizer and Cancer and Careers, as well as on CBS News and Good Morning America.

Jamil also incorporates integrative therapies and is doing well thanks to chemotherapy coupled with improving her nutrition. She and her husband have three children and reside in Drexel Hill, PA.

meet jamil rivers the founder of the chrysalis initiative hero image

Check out Jamil on Instagram

How is The Chrysalis Initiative helping patients in need? 

One of our participants was told by her oncologist that she was out of treatment options and reached out to us. We told her not to give up, found clinical trials for her to consider and helped her get a second opinion. She's now responding to treatment and stable.

Hear from someone who has been impacted by The Chrysalis Initiative:

"It is comforting, heart warming and hopeful to be supported by an organization that advocates to ensure that I received not just the standard of care, but the highest quality of care. Their coaching helped me learn what clinical, emotional, testing, and financial resources are available to me that I was unaware of. The Chrysalis Initiative is Life because they focus on Living." Shavon, @chaysevon

"I am so grateful for the support and education provided by Chrysalis. (Jamil) After being diagnosed the second time with MBC, I was so lost and depressed and thought it was the end. But Jamil provided me with information about my disease and how to manage everyday life. On this journey called cancer, I have learned so much about myself, cancer, life, resources and what it really means to be a thriver. Chrysalis has encouraged me to keep going and pass forward my knowledge and help others just as I am being supported. Thank you to Chrysalis, and I will always be grateful for the wings I've been given to be a Thriver. Knowledge is key! Chrysalis empowers you to be more than MBC." Tiffany, @evolving_4_life

Dana Donofree
Dana Donofree

Founder and CEO of AnaOno. After a diagnosis of breast cancer in her late 20’s, Dana took her own lived experience and fashion design background and (re)designed intimates for those that have undergone breast surgery. Dana’s story has been published around the world in outlets like New York Times, BBC, Huffington Post, The Today Show, and more.