Jasmine M. Young is a 26-year-old native of Chesapeake, Virginia. She is a graduate of Western Branch High School and George Mason University where, 2014, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Integrated Studies with a concentration in Legal Studies and a minor in Communications. She obtained her master’s in Business Administration (MBA) in May 2018. None of her many accomplishments prepared her for the test of a lifetime. Lyfe recently had the pleasure to sit down and talk with Jasmine about her journey, inspiration, and, most of all, her faith and family.
The Lyfe: Hello, Jasmine, thank you for taking the time to sit down and speak with us.
Jasmine: Thank you for giving me the opportunity.
The Lyfe: Let’s talk about your journey and where it has led you today. First of all, let’s go back and revisit when you first found out your mother had breast cancer.
Jasmine: I was around 15 or 16 years old when I found out my mother had breast cancer. I was in the hospital visiting my dad who was recovering from a brain aneurysm. At that time, my mom asked me to drive her to an appointment. I had a learner’s permit so I figured my mom was just trying to help me become more confident and experienced in my driving, so I didn’t think anything of it when she asked.
The Lyfe: What happened next?
Jasmine: I realized when I pulled up at the doctor’s office, it was not her normal doctor because the sign said oncology. I started to google oncology because, when you hear the word “oncology”… I kind of knew what was going on. But, I wasn’t quite sure why we were here. She just said to stay in the car. It was later when we got home she brought it up and told me she had breast cancer.
Jasmine Discovers Her Mom Has Breast Cancer
The Lyfe: How did that make you feel?
Jasmine: I was devastated. I immediately said “Mom, Dad is in the hospital right now and we don’t know what’s going to happen or if he will fully recover. The doctor says that he is not going to remember us at all and you are also telling me that you have breast cancer. What is going on? She didn’t want anyone to know, not even my sisters, dad, or grandparents. I was the first one to know and carried this secret for about a month.
The Lyfe: How did the diagnosis of your mom having breast cancer affect you?
Jasmine: It had a huge impact on my life. I remember the last conversation I had with my mom. She asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve always based my decisions on everyone else. My mom would always ask, “What do you want to do?” I would respond by saying, “I can’t do this because Sam or Jessica is doing something.” I was always concerned about what my sisters or dad were doing and not focusing on things that I wanted to do.
First of all, she would tell me to always keep God first. I think my mom wanted me to focus on me and not be so concerned about what everyone else was doing. She would often remind me to do whatever I wanted to do.
I remember coming home for the last time and seeing my mom. I wasn’t supposed to be home the weekend that she passed. I changed my orthodontist appointment to go home that weekend. So, when I arrived home, I noticed that she had gotten worst from just a week before when I was on spring break. I felt that something wasn’t right.
The Lyfe: What do you mean you felt something wasn’t right?
Jasmine: Things seemed different, she appeared to be weaker. Not only did things appear off, she also had a random nose bleed which led us to take her to the emergency room. Once she was admitted to the hospital, the doctor came in and said, “Your mom has sepsis.” I asked, “What was sepsis?”
The Lyfe: What did you do next?
Jasmine: I googled the word “sepsis” and an article from Oprah Winfrey came up and it stated that this was the number one disease that goes undetected by doctors. In my mind, I was thinking I thought she had breast cancer…so what is sepsis? In less than 30 hours, I had to make a decision to call my sisters. I could feel it. We didn’t know what was about to happen. So I called them.
With family surrounding her, my mom passed away peacefully in the fall of 2014. However, my mother was a fighter. She fought until the very end, even when they told us that she would not breathe on her own when they unhooked the machine. She did! She continued to fight for forty minutes, even after they said she would not breathe on her own.
Although I miss her so much, I am so grateful to have had her in my life. I have accomplished so much because of the push, love, understanding, and support my mom gave me. My most recent accomplishment is the title of Miss Virginia USA Ambassador 2017. I have been competing in pageants since the age of 15. Through pageantry, I have been able to spread awareness about Breast Cancer and Sepsis.
The Lyfe: What does family mean to you?
Jasmine: Everything. Family means everything to me. Even after experiencing the loss of my mother, I decided to turn down a job after I graduated college so I could take care of and be close to my dad. He’s all that I have left and I wanted to make sure that he was alright. Still, in the fall of 2014, based on the last conversation I had with my mother, I founded a ministry in memory of my mom, Bernetta D. Young, God. You. Family.
God, You, Family
The Lyfe: What does “God. You. Family.” mean?
Jasmine: It’s the order of life that will get you through life. It stands for always putting God first, taking care of you and never giving up on your dreams, while keeping family close. You can put it in any order, this is the order my mom gave me, but it all takes balance. This is the strength that I draw from. I’m in the middle depending on God and family to always support, uplift, and care for me no matter what.
The Lyfe: Who or what inspires you?
Jasmine: My inspiration and motivation in everything that I do come from watching my mother battle breast cancer three different times. It doesn’t matter how many pageants I win and everything else I accomplish, my mom, Bernetta D. Young, is the real Queen. In November 2017, Jasmine was awarded Model of the Year by Achi Magazine in Hampton Roads, Virginia, and was cast as a model in Atlantic City Fashion Week in February 2018. Jasmine currently works in the legal field for two different law firms in northern Virginia. Aside from her busy work week building her professional career, she also works as an inspirational speaker, talent coach, model, and image/business consultant with her own business, Jasmine M. Young, LLC.