Breast Cancer Survivor Opens Plant-Based Restaurant Franchise in the DC Area

Taneea Yarborough, Gangster Vegan franchise owner

Before she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Taneea Yarborough had always dreamed of opening a plant-based restaurant in Baltimore with her husband. She was about to achieve that dream when she found out that she has to undergo mastectomy just two weeks before the scheduled opening of her Gangster Vegan franchise. However, she decided to achieve her dream anyways. Now, she is a cancer survivor and a restaurant owner!
As a former school principal, Taneea has seen first hand how poor health habits affect students and teachers, especially in Baltimore which has long been known as a food desert. She and her husband James have since wanted to change it and provide residents with easier access to healthy, affordable food.

Even after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she continued working on her dream with determination. Last September, they opened their Gangster Vegan franchise in the Washington, DC area.

"One thing that being a 30-year-old cancer survivor has taught me is that time is a luxury, and I will never take it for granted again! I knew I wanted to share our mission with as many people as possible, and honestly, I didn't have the benefit of waiting until everything was perfectly ready," Taneea told Essence.

Opening a new business has especially been challenging for Taneea since she had a scheduled bilateral double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery two weeks after that, but she decided not to set aside any of her goals.

"I think one of the biggest challenges in this entire process of opening a restaurant was balancing my health (at the time I was getting weekly chemotherapy) with the demands of being an entrepreneur with a brand-new business. Nothing about this process was made easier for me because I was fighting cancer. So, I went to the doctor 2-3 times a week, and still was spending 50-hour weeks in the store," she adds.

Now that she has survived cancer, Taneea does not forget to make her wellness her priority. She comments, "I am a new survivor, so I am very much still taking it day by day. My wellness routine, which includes a plant-based diet, talk therapy, meditation, journaling -- amongst other things -- have enabled me to have a few more good days during this journey."

Moreover, Taneea takes time to talk to other people about how they could attain better health with the help of the food they are offering at Gangster Vegan DMV.

She advises, "Drink quality water, get sun, move your body, and pay attention to what makes you feel good. We can't control everything, but we do control what we consume. As a survivor, it's important for me to tell people that you still have an opportunity to take control of your health and that it is definitely worth it!"

For more information about Gangster Vegan DMV, follow her franchise on Instagram @gangstervegandmv
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