Normani is getting real and opening up about the journey that came out of her mother’s two battles against breast cancer.
The former Fifth Harmony member’s mom, Andrea Hamilton, has faced two bouts of breast cancer; both times, Hamilton detected lumps in her breasts through a self-exam, signifying just how important this practice is in detecting the disease.
“My mom’s diagnosis taught me that early detection and not taking anything for granted are so important,” Normani told Elle.
Normani, who was only 5 years old back when Hamilton was first diagnosed, went on to discuss the moment when — after being cancer-free for 19 years — her mother found another lump in her breast, which turned out to be cancerous.
“I was in Los Angeles when I found out my mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer again. My family was back in Houston,” the 26-year-old recalled. “I felt incredibly helpless because I wasn’t able to cure her. I could not change the circumstances.”
“That day was my worst nightmare. I always said that unfortunately (but fortunately), the first time we experienced this, I was young, and not fully able to grasp the severity of the situation. This time around, I was,” Normani added.
The “Wild Side” singer continued, reflecting on how the experience impacted the entire family unit.
“When a close relative has been diagnosed with breast cancer, you have to honor both experiences: the one who is enduring and the one who is doing their best to support. My mom is incredibly independent and self-sufficient, so seeing her break down and not be able to function was really painful,” she said.
The artist also spoke on what her mother’s ordeal personally taught her.
“I watched my mother find her own lumps both times she had breast cancer. She taught me the importance of looking out for changes in your breasts and educated me on what mammograms were at an early age,” Normani noted.
“I also encourage anyone who has a family member with cancer to see that your family talks to a doctor about genetic testing. We have taken these measures as a family. Knowledge is power, so whatever you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask,” she continued.
Normani winded down her emotional op-ed by sharing that her mother is in remission and reflecting on what the entire ordeal has taught the family, noting that they make sure to “maximize every single moment and prioritize actually living instead of just existing.”
“I know for a fact that I have already experienced the scariest time in my life with the thought of having to exist here without my mom. The things that scared me before no longer do,” she powerfully shared.