About Us


Laini Fluellen Charities, Inc. was founded in 2009 by a group of breast cancer survivors and the loved ones who supported them through their diagnosis and treatment. Based in Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland, we began our advocacy and awareness-raising work for the young women in our communities who are susceptible to triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), especially Black and Hispanic women who are at a higher risk. 

TNBC is a particularly fast-spreading and difficult to treat variety of breast cancer that affects people under age 50, many under age 40 before most women get their first mammogram. It’s our mission to improve outcomes for women and men diagnosed with TNBC by fundraising and advocating for more studies in local hospitals, subsidizing mammograms for early detection, educating those at risk in our communities and generally raising awareness about this disease. In memory of our namesake and others who have struggled with TNBC, it’s equally important that we share stories of survivors and recognize medical practitioners and advocates who are leading the fight against TNBC in the work they do every day.

In our first ten years, we have raised about $200,000 and five new studies on TNBC were made possible because of our efforts. We expect to grow our organization throughout the midwest and expand our influence to continue advocating for making TNBC research accessible to more patients and early detection on a national level. We understand first-hand how overwhelming a breast cancer diagnosis can be to both the patient and her (or his) loved ones, and we are dedicated to supporting those affected by TNBC before, during, and after their experience with the disease.

Learn more about what we’re doing to improve outcomes for young women at risk for TNBC or donate now.


The mission of Laini Fluellen Charities, Inc. is to continue the work of the organization’s namesake, improving health outcomes for African-American and Hispanic women at high risk for TNBC and those diagnosed with breast cancer by:

  1. Raising funds for the research and development of treatments for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC)* and mammogram subsidies.
  2. Providing spiritual and educational support through seminars, awareness campaigns and website resources.
  3. Providing tools and care coordination materials to local hospitals to help patients navigate the treatment process.

* TNBC or triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive tumor that disproportionately affects African-American and Hispanic women and results in lower survival rates.


In January 2006, Laini first noticed a lump in her breast at age 35. Initially, she ignored the warning signs because she optimistically assumed the lump was just “a benign cyst like her mother occasionally had.” She was reluctant to seek medical advice because she did not have health care insurance at the time and did not want to incur any “unnecessary” expenses. A few months later, Laini started a new job which provided health care insurance. By that time, the small lump on her breast had tripled in size and she began to feel a pain in her armpit. Although she remained hopeful that this was not a serious matter, she made an appointment to see a primary care physician to seek treatment for the pain. Unfortunately, a biopsy confirmed the worst news, the small lump that she noticed several months before was actually a malignant (cancerous) tumor. The pain in her armpit indicated that the breast cancer had already spread to her lymph nodes and likely to other parts of her body.

Throughout her three-year fight with cancer, Laini rarely received “good news” from her doctors because there are few treatment options for the type of breast cancer that she had—triple negative breast cancer (TNBC)—an aggressive form of breast cancer most commonly found in young African-American women. In fact, African-American women are roughly 2X more likely to have triple-negative breast cancer than white women. Even though white women are more likely to develop breast cancer than black women, black women are more likely to die from the disease.

Despite her prognosis, Laini remained hopeful and spent most of her time doing what she liked to do most—helping others—just as she did before. After all, Laini had 9 godchildren, 3 mentees and a host of family and friends to care for. Throughout her life, she loved young people in general, but she was especially drawn to young girls that needed spiritual, social and emotional guidance and to those that just needed to be encouraged in excelling in their goals. She mentored many by attending their sporting events, tutoring, counseling and providing special outings for them to gain greater exposure to life. Despite never having children of her own, on Mother’s Day, 2009, Laini was honored as “Mother of the Year” by her Valley Kingdom Ministries International church family due to her continued involvement with the youth in her community.

Through faith and perseverance, Laini lived nearly three years longer than predicted. She made the most of her time by coordinating special events for family, friends and church members; spreading the word about TNBC through TV and book interviews; and she even made time to travel to Washington, DC to witness President Obama’s Inauguration. Laini demonstrated a passion for life and for helping others. Laini Fluellen Charities, Inc. was created, in part, to continue her passionate works.

Help us carry on Laini’s legacy with a one-time or monthly donation. Donate Now.

Written by Tranece Artis
Executive Director, Laini Fluellen Charities, Inc.


Since 2009, Laini Fluellen Charities has raised over $200,000 through grass roots efforts to advance our mission of improving outcomes for young women at high risk for triple-negative breast cancer diagnosis in Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland area. In addition to raising funds for TNBC research and mammograms, we run awareness campaigns, facilitate events and promote early detection and breast health education. Through the support of our donors, sponsors and grants, we plan to expand our reach to the fight against TNBC at the national level

TNBC Research

We build relationships with local hospitals to raise awareness among medical professionals about the latest TNBC treatments. Through our established partnerships, we fund research studies and clinical trials focused on developing new treatments for TNBC. Five new research studies including this clinical trial on platinum-based chemotherapy were made available in local hospitals due to our advocacy over the last ten years.

Mammogram Subsidy Program

These partnerships also allow us to subsidize mammograms for people who are uninsured or underinsured. Early detection is a key factor in a TNBC patient’s chances of survival, and some insurance plans don’t cover mammograms for women under age 40—when Black and Hispanic women are already at a higher risk for TNBC. Screening mammograms cost up to $350 and diagnostic mammograms cost up to $500. Individuals must contact our partner hospitals to receive mammogram subsidies.

Beth’s Bags

Beth’s Bags is a care package program which distributes nearly 400 care packages to patients annually at three local hospitals.  Beth’s Bag includes comprehensive medical planners and journals to help newly diagnosed breast cancer patients navigate their treatment process. Beth’s Bag was inspired by Beth Brantley Paschal, a Northwest Indiana native, who collected items to support and comfort her friend who was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer and gave the items to her in a decorated gift bag. Later the same year, Beth was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer at age 37 but lost her battle with the disease. The Beth’s Bag Project honors her compassion for others by lifting the spirits of women going through the cancer treatment process and reminds them they are not alone.  Beth’s Bag is currently distributed to the following hospitals:

Know Your Lemons Campaign

We have joined a worldwide campaign to fight breast cancer by empowering women with the knowledge needed to recognize the 12 early signs of breast cancer and the confidence needed to advocate for themselves during the screening and treatment process.  Early detection with proper treatment can greatly reduce the mortality rate for breast cancer around the globe.  This campaign was started by the Know Your Lemons founder, Corrine Ellsworth Beaumont MFA PhD, X years ago.  As of 2020, the campaign has reached 1 billion people online because the #knowyourlemons campaign is something people love to look at and share.

Laini Fluellen Charities is proud to be the first Global Educators (aka Lemonistas) in the Midwest certified to teach the 90-minute course.  If you are interested in having the Know Your Lemons breast health class (via Zoom) presented to your group, please contact us at lfcharities@gmail.com.

Learn more about the Know Your Lemons Campaign here.

Advocacy and Awareness

We participate in a minimum of five awareness programs throughout the year through community hospitals, churches and other organizations. Our volunteers increase public awareness about TNBC and encourage early detection measures among women at high risk for developing TNBC at health fairs, speaking engagements and other events.

Check out our Events Page to learn more about our annual Pink Tie Affair and other regular events including the Pin-A-Sister™ and Know Your Lemons® campaigns.