Rita Cupingood was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998 at age 51 and treated with surgery, radiation and tamoxifen. Her mother died from metastatic breast cancer in 1973 when Rita was 26 and newly pregnant with her first child. Both Rita’s maternal grandmother and only maternal aunt died from breast cancer in their 60's.
Because of her family history, Rita had targeted genetic testing in the early 2000s. But the tests determined that she did not carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. There was a lot of secrecy surrounding the breast cancer affecting her family, which motivated her to become a strong, relentless advocate of breast cancer education, information and support.
After retiring as executive director of the Norristown Family Center, a collaborative venture to strengthen families on a number of education, health, and economic fronts, Rita served with the Montgomery County Health Department delivering breast cancer awareness workshops to a variety of community groups through grants from Susan G. Komen and Pottstown Health Foundations.
Rita feels that Living Beyond Breast Cancer has enabled her to be fully engaged in her recovery and ongoing knowledge of the disease. Through the years, she has attended LBBC conferences and workshops on numerous topics. As an LBBC volunteer, she’s contributed to a Fall 2008 Insight article on DCIS, distributed LBBC materials, participated in a photo shoot in May 2014, and most recently was involved in a video shoot. All of these experiences tie in nicely with her recent selection as a Community Connector.