What I’m looking forward to at Wellness & Wisdom

October 15, 2020

Yvonne McLean Florence and Cathy Knowles are members of the advisory committee for Wellness & Wisdom: Living Beyond Breast Cancer Conference, happening October 24 and 25. We spoke to them about the benefits of a virtual conference and how you can make the most out of the experience.

If you haven't already, register today and join us for a weekend of information and community. 

Yvonne McLean Florence

What's the best part of attending a virtual conference?

The best part of attending a virtual conference is that you get the best of both worlds. What I mean by that is, since we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, attendees do not have to travel and can attend in the privacy of their own home. I see this as win-win because it minimizes putting one another at risk. In addition, attending the conference virtually will allow attendees to network with others near and far. 

What did you enjoy about participating in the advisory committee?

I loved being a part of the advisory committee because it gave me the opportunity to meet other women (Kate and Cathy) who were impacted by a diagnosis of breast cancer. Although, our diagnoses were different, the common goal was to help LBBC support the larger audience of women who are attending Wellness & Wisdom: Living Beyond Breast Cancer Conference. What a beautiful thing!

What do you enjoy about the connections found through virtual conferences?

The connections that I have made through virtual conferences are unique. Whether it is a connection with someone who is local in my home state of Pennsylvania or who lives internationally. I enjoy the connection because they are with others that I may or may not have things in common with so there is always something to talk about.

What are you most looking forward to for Wellness & Wisdom: Living Beyond Breast Cancer Conference?

I am looking forward to attending the Wellness & Wisdom to learn additional ways to keep my health on track, to hear from the expert speakers and panelists because I believe we learn from each other, and of course, to reconnect and connect with other participants to forge lasting relationships.

Why should women affected by breast cancer register for Wellness & Wisdom?

Whether a patient, survivor, thriver, or caregiver, I believe women affected by breast cancer should register for Wellness & Wisdom because it will be a weekend filled with information that can be applied wherever she may find herself. It will also be a time to make memories with others who are a part of the LBBC community.

 

Yvonne McLean Florence is a breast cancer advocate. During her diagnosis, Calvin, her husband of 17 years, was her caregiver and remains her greatest supporter. Yvonne is the president and founder of Sisters R Us Circle of Survivors, a nonprofit organization that supports women impacted by a diagnosis of breast cancer.


Cathy Knowles

What's the best part of attending a virtual conference?

I think that it's more inclusive. I know there was nothing like being there in person, there's no comparison to that and I truly miss that that component, but with the virtual format we can include more people. People who maybe wouldn't have been able to afford to travel or wouldn't have been well enough.

What did you enjoy most about participating in the advisory committee?

I think it's nice to see the behind-the-scenes component. I know that there's a lot more to it that we don't realize as attendees. I've been very pleased with the staff I've been able to work with and the others who were chosen to be on the advisory board. We all come from very different places in our diagnosis and hopefully that will play well to the audience when we have a chance to discuss the way we're living with the disease.

It's been a really great experience to have some say in what's going to be presented.

How did you find connections in a virtual conference?

I had some conversations that were going on in the chat, especially as I tried to jump between the mets chat and the leadership for LBBC group. The way the platform advances, it was a little fast-moving and you can lose parts of conversations if you aren't paying really close attention. But I did find that, virtually through those chats, I made friends and have people that I have continued to communicate or and have followed their posts.

What are you most looking forward to for Wellness & Wisdom: Living Beyond Breast Cancer Conference?

I’m looking forward to the interactions. I'm particularly interested in the keynote on Sunday that we'll be working, “Early-stage breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer: Being allies for each other.” I will be very interested to follow the conversation and to hear what is brought to the table, because I think that there can be a wide chasm between the two and especially in this month of October.

I'm also excited to be part of the panel working with Dr. Ginsburg, “Metastatic breast cancer: Living with uncertainty.” I think that will be a really good experience for me to dig a little deeper and open up about certain aspects of living with metastatic cancer. Hopefully it will help someone else.

Why should women affected by breast cancer register for Wellness & Wisdom?

I think attendees will learn so much. For me, learning and being more informed is a key piece of making your day-to-day life more bearable and making your interactions with your medical team more effective. I think women who attend this conference will find comfort that there are others who are going through the same thing.

Breast cancer is a very isolating disease, no matter what stage you're at. I feel that with this this platform, where they can share and learn, is immensely important. For a long time after my diagnosis, I allowed myself to be very isolated. I pulled inward and became very withdrawn about the process and I believe that first experience with LBBC’s 2019 Conference on Metastatic Breast Cancer made a huge impact on my willingness to share and my overall outlook. We are not alone!

 

Cathy Knowles was diagnosed with de novo metastatic breast cancer in January 2017. She is a member of LBBC’s Hear My Voice Advocacy Program class of 2020. She lives in Florida with her husband and two dogs, Cody and Riley.