Ameena Matthews has dedicated most of her adult life to stepping in between potentially deadly conflicts to prevent shootings and death. Now she is now in the middle of fighting the greatest fight of her life.
Ameena was diagnosed in January 2014 with multiple myeloma— a form of cancer that currently has no cure.
A disease that’s expected to dramatically cut her life-span.
For years, Ameena has used her voice to help squash street-beef before it becomes another deadly shooting in some of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods.
Her work became known after being featured in the documentary, “The Interrupters,” a film that follows Chicago’s street-conflict resolvers like Ameena.
Ameena has stared down murders, gangsters, etc. But in January, this mother, wife and voice for her community, got news that shook her to the core.
“It’s no comeback from [this disease],” she say. “You know you can fight as long as you can but in an interval it’s going to win.”
“I just feel like why? Why? Why did it pick me?”
Ameena’s illness complicated by the fact– she no longer has insurance.
She says she was fired last spring, from her job with Cure Violence Chicago, formerly known as Ceasefire.
Ameena is saving-up for a critical treatment, a high-dose chemo followed by a stem cell transplant. Doctors say this procedure will extend Ameena’s life by only about three years.
Ameena spent nearly three weeks at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital for the procedure. But despite the grueling side-effects, Chicago’s streets are all she can think about…
“I got babies out there dying,” she said. “I can’t sleep at night. I can’t cut the television off…”
Ameena says she has a family and a city to fight for. Despite the odds, she refuses to give-up now.
Ameena is on medication that costs her about $10,000 for a 21-day supply. To help, Ameena says members of the community created a GoFundMe page—raising tens of thousands for her medical treatments with money rolling-in from around the world. So far, she’s raised over $100,000. For more information about Ameena, click here.