About Marie Garlock

Marie with her mother, Barbara.

I am a PhD student and health communication researcher, and a performer and ethnographer working with people facing metastatic cancers, including breast cancer. Currently, I’m a teaching fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill and an apprentice dancer with the African-American Dance Ensemble. Through my PhD research, I lead health communication and movement and story performance workshops in a method called “InterPlay” for patients, caregivers, and health providers facing stage IV cancers — people with uniquely powerful, under-heard perspectives on shifting cancer’s status quo in the U.S. and internationally. I’m lucky to collaborate with North Carolina’s Forward Together/Moral Mondays on links of health and environmental justice, and to honor people in my family and state whose lives were lost or for whom cancer worsened during a gap in health insurance coverage.

I learned about BCAction through my vibrant mom Barbara Garlock, a lifelong leader for health access, and a talented justice advocate who faced stage IV breast cancer pretty miraculously for almost 7 years, before passing on in 2013. I want the things that helped her — including patient advocacy, expansion beyond “pink” consumer-philanthropy, and anti-toxicity activism aligned with BCAction’s priorities — to tangibly help other women and their families who face breast cancer now. Through BCAction’s Community Leaders for Change I hope to link more people in the southern U.S. (and research colleagues globally) with the life-giving, game-changing resources BCAction offers in efforts to “stop cancer where it starts” for people of every race, gender, and income.

My personal philosophy about ending the breast cancer epidemic is inspired by my best friend and mom Barbara, who boldly lived this question everyday: “As people facing breast cancer, how do we expand our definition of health to include both health justice and healing? Healing includes our personal bodies, and our cultural, economic, and political bodies.”
My goal as a Community Leader is to engage people in becoming “activated” within their own circumstances, to begin collectively redefining what breast cancer advocacy looks like. I’d tell other interested in Community Leaders for Change: let’s do this together, with creativity and spunk … come on board!