Marianne Sarcich, an advocate and someone who has had breast cancer, founded and runs the breast cancer peer support group In This Together Philly Wilmington. This group has grown from 10 to more than 700 members in 2 years and supports every stage and every age in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. She connects members not only to each other but also to resources, organizations, and information to ease the burden of the diagnosis. She also creates group events every 2 to 3 weeks. Everything from lunches to Sephora makeup classes to yoga to art therapy and even bumper cars on ice. With the pandemic, she has shifted into creating virtual events, like meditation, reiki, and coffee chats. In addition she provides one-on-one support for members as needed. Other organizations now refer patients who need peer-to-peer support to Marianne's group, including Penn Medicine.
Marianne, who was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, also advocates for the breast cancer community nationally, with a focus on supporting the metastatic breast cancer community. Her MBC advocacy includes participating in the 2018 METAvivor Stage IV Stampede, a day of advocacy in Washington, D.C., with federal legislators. It also includes creating a livestream webinar about social security disability with the Cancer Support Community Center of Delaware and the local Social Security Administration.
Marianne's current advocacy project was inspired by the unmet needs of the MBC community. She is developing a national advocacy initiative to make supportive care — also known as palliative care — standard of care at diagnosis for any disease that should be supported by it. As part of this initiative, she was selected by WEGO Health to represent the patient advocate community on a palliative care webinar panel to launch the Cambia Groves TRAILS competition.
Marianne is a member of the Patient Advocate Committee for the Society for Integrative Oncology. She is also an advocate and speaker for Sharsheret. Marianne was a critical resource for Sharsheret in launching its Best Face Forward 2.0 program, helping to shape the program into what it is today.