Together, we are never alone
This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s CEO shares her vision for how together we can change the way people see breast cancer – and the organization’s role in getting us there
During any given week, I take calls from people coping with breast cancer. Some are women who have never had breast cancer before; some are known to me from a past breast cancer diagnosis; and still others are struggling because they’ve tested positive for a breast cancer gene mutation and need information and support.
These conversations are among the most meaningful things I do because they keep me grounded in LBBC’s mission, providing direction about the concerns our community members face. While these callers share a fear of the unknown, their needs are very individualized—each person faces a web of complex medical decisions based on the type of breast cancer and availability of treatments, and because of varied access due to insurance status or finances or the color of their skin. Many lack crucial social and emotional support, or face barriers to accessing the information they need.
As we planned our 2022 Breast Cancer Awareness Month theme, Together We C.A.N., I thought deeply about these calls. I am proud of what LBBC has accomplished over the last 31 years, yet I am reminded that there is an urgent need to do more, and to do better.
Despite all the progress we’ve achieved in breast cancer, LBBC has a responsibility to make sure no one is left behind. This BCAM, I’m focused on the ways LBBC can lead change, inside and out. We’ll do that by offering you tips to participate, and by modeling the ways the dialogue around breast cancer must change. Breast cancer no longer has a single storyline. Starting with us, we will speak to its complexities. Only by sharing the perspectives of our diverse community members – by age, race and ethnicity, sex and gender identity, income and place of residence, and other factors – can we begin to paint a full picture of the breast cancer experience.
Together, we can change the conversation
Change is rarely a revolution. Individual actions can and do further our vision of a world where no one impacted by breast cancer feels uninformed or alone. Throughout the month, we’ll share your stories and reflections about what BCAM means to you. Contributing writer Stephanie Levin will detail the small but impactful ways you can advocate, whether it’s ensuring your own best care, lending emotional support, or donating to LBBC in support of our mission. Or join our 2022 Hear My Voice advocates on Oct. 13, Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, as they lead the #4forStageIV social media campaign to educate the public about the realities of living with MBC.
Together, we can ensure people get the information they need – and deserve
The COVID-19 pandemic created challenges for everyone, including LBBC. We were fortunate that our donors and supporters stood by us. Because of you, the pandemic became transformative, allowing us to grow programs and increase reach at a time when people needed us in their homes more than ever.
We added discipline to our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, working to center DE&I at every level of our organization. The result is a team with growing diversity and greater confidence that our programs will be more accessible and more meaningful to more people.
During BCAM, look for a new statement of our values. And on Oct. 27 join us and our partners for the third year of Knowledge is power: the Black breast cancer experience.
Together, we can nurture and strengthen our community of support
Building relationships and nurturing and connecting people has always been at the heart of what we do. The pandemic showed us we can do it differently. We’ve just trained our latest cohort of Young Advocates, inspiring leadership volunteers from across the country who connect with others to expand our community. This month, you’ll be invited to help us plan a new 2023 grassroots fundraiser, one we hope will offer opportunities for you to connect with LBBC wherever you live. We’ll soon announce exciting plans for the 2023 Conference on Metastatic Breast Cancer. In the meantime, we invite you to explore the newly redesigned LBBC.org, your online hub to learn about all the different ways you can connect with each other and with LBBC throughout the year. We look forward to your feedback and to providing you with more opportunities to share your story, learn from each other’s experiences, and explore our trusted resources.
I have no doubt I’ll handle calls in the next few weeks and in the months to come, times when breast cancer doesn’t get the enormous attention it receives during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And yet I remain hopeful that together, we can make the experience of breast cancer different for those facing this disease. We can ensure everyone has access to the information, support, and resources of our resilient community. And we must insist the conversation include them, whomever they are, so no one ever feels they must face breast cancer alone.
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