Two of the most devoted volunteers to the metastatic breast cancer community recently died within a week of each other. Both were involved in the same organization, the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, with significant duties. Ellen Moskowitz was president for four years (2006 to 2010), and Suzanne Hebert was vice president, secretary and treasurer and contributed in many ways to MBCN. Both were vocal advocates for our community in trying to help the world understand that metastatic breast cancer has no rationale for coming into one’s life: no invitation, no lack of good humor or positive attitude and no physical reason that we have indulged.
With a week to think about this it makes me feel more certain that we need to rely on the motivated women and men in the non-metastatic breast cancer community to be part of the advocacy for us. Too many of us are exhausted from the disease and its treatment to take the word on the road or even to our local ACS (American Cancer Society) or other groups. We need motivated and knowledgeable representatives who can take the word to the public forums and to the cancer groups to inform them that we exist with members who keep dropping off so that in another year or two, those with whom we regularly speak may have danced into the light.
The two organizations who are currently doing the most good for the metastatic breast cancer community are the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network and METAvivor. MBCN devotes itself toward speaking and working with groups to teach others what metastatic breast cancer is and how they can help to make a difference. METAvivor devotes itself toward raising funds for metastatic breast cancer, which is sadly and notoriously underfunded (only 3 percent of funds raised by the big organization/s go toward research for metastatic breast cancer). Both organizations need help from eager volunteers, willing to learn and to spread the word. With the loss of Ellen and Suzanne, two powerhouses of our community, I wonder how many of us it will take to fill their shoes.
Are you someone who would love to rise to the challenge of working with the metastatic breast cancer community? Do you know someone who is fighting to stay alive with this disease, coping with the uncertainty, the pain and the treatment, who motivates you to do something on behalf of others like her/him? I invite you to read more about these two organizations and pass the word to others you know who can spread the word until we find more volunteers to do the work we desperately need to do. We need able-bodied representatives willing to volunteer their talents.
We cannot propel this cause from a single blog post or a single speaking engagement. It will take concerted effort and repeated activities from many motivated individuals to imprint even a single step in the march of progress toward awareness and funding for metastatic breast cancer. Don’t think about who should hear this message—just pass it along until it reaches someone who responds to our impassioned call.5 6 7 8
© 2004–2012 Donna Peach. All rights reserved.