C4YW 2013: Sisterhood is Forever

Sisterhood-YSC-resized(Update 4.2.13: The “Sisterhood” t-shirt referenced in the second paragraph is now available for purchase in YSC’s online store)

There is really no way to describe it to those who have not attended. C4YW is a respite for those who have been diagnosed young with breast cancer … for three short days. It’s a place where you feel normal again. It’s a place where the things being discussed are somehow relevant to you. It’s a place where some of the most amazing women I have ever met come together and thrive together.

This year YSC sold a t-shirt at C4YW that said “Initiation sucks. Sisterhood is forever.” We just created this t-shirt and were curious if the women attending C4YW would like it. We had only three of these t-shirts left when the conference wrapped. While a t-shirt is just a shirt, it represents something powerful.

Referring to breast cancer as a “sisterhood” might seem odd to some, but when I think about the strong connections women make with other survivors through both YSC and this conference, sisterhood is the only word powerful enough to explain to other people what these women mean to each other … and to me personally, as a young survivor myself. None of us wanted to be here — but we are — and now we are bound, much like sisters.
Learn More
Sexy After Cancer
Passionate Nutrition
Breast Cancer Fund

This was my second time attending C4YW. I was so impressed with the breakout session topics and speakers. The sex and intimacy workshop by Barbara Musser was awesome, and the Healthy Eating After Breast Cancer by Jennifer Adler was so informative. There was a Lesbian Women: Dating and Relationships session, as well as workshops geared toward the men who were there to support their partners.

In my opinion, our final plenary speakers, Nancy Buermeyer and Connie Engel from Breast Cancer Fund stole the show. As a woman who has worked in the environmental arena for years, the mission of Breast Cancer Fund is close to my heart. Nancy and Connie did an outstanding job of explaining environmental considerations and providing realistic steps we can all take to lower the impact and level of chemicals to which are our bodies are exposed. As they spoke, I looked around the room and noticed many of the 650 attendees were taking notes. It made me feel proud to see so many of my sisters engaged and know we can deliver such important and meaningful information to the young women we exist to serve.

In the end, we know that money makes the world go around. So, it’s important to give a shout out to our partners who made this amazing meeting possible: Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Eisai, Celgene, Amgen, Avon Foundation for Women, Breast Cancer Wellness, Genentech, Oakley and so many others.  Thank you!

Love also makes the world go around — I felt surrounded by it at C4YW and honored to be a part of this unique sisterhood.

Hope to see you in Florida next year (Orlando, February 21–23, 2014)!!!

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Categories: YSC SYNC - Survivors

YSC Responds to JAMA Article on Breast Cancer Incidence

JAMAAn article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on February 26, 2013, discusses the incidence of breast cancer in the United States and concludes that the number of young women presenting with metastatic disease at initial diagnosis has been increasing over time.  Given the subject matter of this article, YSC believes it is important to share with our constituents what this article says and what it means for young women diagnosed with breast cancer.

In “Incidence of Breast Cancer with Distant Involvement Among Women in the United States, 1976 to 2009,“ [hereinafter “JAMA article”] the authors examined data from the U.S. National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database to find trends among breast cancer diagnoses.  The authors observed a “small but statistically significant increase in incidence of breast cancer with distant involvement [metastasis to distant location such as bone, brain, lung, etc.] for women aged 25 to 39 years” of age. (JAMA article, at 805).  This increase accounted for the women who presented with metastatic (Stage IV) disease at time of initial diagnosis.  According to the SEER 9 database, the incidence of women in the U.S. aged 25 to 39 who presented with metastatic disease at initial diagnosis went from 1.53 per 100,000 women in 1976 to 2.9 per 100,000 women in 2009. The authors do not know the cause of these results and admit that further studies to corroborate their findings are necessary.

So what does this study mean to YSC, to young women diagnosed with breast cancer, and to healthy young women?  First, there is no cause for alarm or panic.  As the authors of this article state, their observations need to be corroborated and if that can be done, then further research is needed to ascertain why these numbers appear to be rising.  The JAMA article is a retrospective observational study, and as such, gives us very limited information.  This study does not and cannot explain why the distant diagnoses may be rising in young women.  As the authors admit, those diagnosed with distant disease at the time of their initial diagnosis is “relatively small.”  We also need to bear in mind the limitations of retrospective surveillance data.  SEER 9 data only captures 10% of the U.S. population from nine specific areas that may or may not be representative of the whole country.

How does this study affect young women already diagnosed with breast cancer?  It doesn’t.  This article does not address the risk of recurrence or metastasis for a young woman previously diagnosed with breast cancer.  Its findings applied to metastatic disease at initial diagnosis and not recurrence or spread of disease.

How does this study affect healthy young women?  The study does not warrant any change to YSC’s position that all young women should be familiar with their breasts, know what is normal for their body, and go to their healthcare provider if they find something that is not typical.  As the JAMA study revealed, the incidence of localized and regional disease in 25 to 39 year olds has not changed since the 1970s. From 2005-2009, the median age at diagnosis for cancer of the breast was 61 years of age. Approximately 0.0% were diagnosed under age 20; 1.8% between 20 and 34; and 9.9% between 35 and 44.  See http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/breast.html#incidence-mortality

Does this article show a need for breast cancer screening in women aged 25 to 39?  No.  Current screening methods are not effective in young women.  Recent research calls into question the benefits of screening mammography for women under 50.  Just last December, a paper by one of the JAMA article authors and Dr. Gilbert Welch showed the harms that mammography screening has caused over the last three decades.  See http://blog.youngsurvival.org/?p=2046.

Last, but certainly not least, this study shows the need for young women to be informed about science, statistics and critical review of study reports and media summaries of those reports.  If you are interested in learning more, we encourage you to consider attending Project LEAD, a training course offered by the National Breast Cancer Coalition, which is now accepting applications for its annual Institute.  http://www.breastcancerdeadline2020.org/get-involved/training/project-lead/

Regardless of the exact number of young women diagnosed with metastatic disease at initial diagnosis, it is too many.  There is an urgent need to study metastatic disease, especially in young women who are generally understudied and excluded from metastatic clinical trials. YSC has always emphasized the importance of researching breast cancer in young women and this article supports that need.

A comprehensive summary of the article, explanation and commentary can be found in YSC’s detailed statement.

YSC would like to thank Joy Simha for her input and assistance with developing this statement.


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Categories: Guest Bloggers

From Drifting to Found: YSC Gave Me a Community

PrintI thought it would be easy to write a blog post about what the YSC community boards have meant to me in the five years since my breast cancer diagnosis. However, I was wrong. The feelings this topic raises are very strong for me and are hard to corral into words.

Nonetheless—here goes. Five years ago last month, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. I was a freelance writer smack in the middle of many projects; and I was trying to plan a family. In addition, I was a vegetarian and a devoted yoga-doer. I’d rejected the pill for health reasons, I drank in true moderation, and I’d smoked maybe ¾ of a cigarette in my life. Didn’t that count for anything?

I found local resources—my hospital’s breast cancer support group, for example. And these resources were great, but, as is common, I found that many of my co-survivors were a good deal older than I was and at a different stage of life. They had grandkids; they collected social security. They didn’t have to worry about the income they’d lose during treatment or to have anxiety attacks about the prospect of losing health insurance. Some, even as they faced chemo and surgery and radiation as I did, flat-out told me they felt bad for me. I appreciated their concern, but this didn’t feel especially helpful.

Then, one night, I discovered YSC’s web site and its community bulletin boards. And there, finally, were photos of women who looked like me. And I could see their “stats”—where they’d started out, diagnostically, and where they were now. Did someone have my pathology? My stage of disease? How was life going for her?

I was grateful to see that people were finding humor, and lots of it, even in difficulty. There were stories of wigs gone bad, dates during chemo, clueless coworkers saying any number of annoying things. One girl, diagnosed at Stage 3, asked in her stats, “Why do I always have to ‘go big’?” It was funny. My shoulders unclenched. I would not be pitied here, and I would not be alone.

I found, through the YSC boards, a group of women who’d be starting chemo when I would—March 2008. We christened ourselves the March Moxies. I can’t overstate how much it helped me, as I headed into treatment, to know they were doing the same. Each day I’d report to them on my side effects, my hair (and then lack of), my hopes and fears, and, in fact, the clueless things my own coworkers ended up saying; and I’d eagerly read their reports of the same. I loved and needed them so much that, when my treatments continued on a bit longer than that of other Moxies, I attached myself to another cyber-group of women, the Mayflowers, who were still in treatment. What we all experienced together created a permanent bond.

Five years have felt like five minutes and also, in some ways, like a lifetime. I’ve gained  invaluable advice about treatments, options, side effects, and recovery, as well as an amazing community and very dear friends. I’ve also cried again and again over beloved YSC sisters lost far too soon. The loss doesn’t get easier. I never get used to it; nor would I want to. But I carry these friends with me always, and I’m grateful to feel them in my heart.

Knock every piece of wood, my own current health status is good, and I hope that my “stats” will give hope to others. Not all the life issues that concerned me five years ago have been resolved, but I’m here to continue to work on them, to reach for my goals, and  to experience what life brings. I’m happy to be available for newly diagnosed women, as others were there for me when I was diagnosed. I’m here to say you too can do this, and you will not be alone.

I love the newly revamped boards. They’re streamlined and easy to use, but they offer some great new features. One is the Member Map, which helps you find YSCers in your area. There’s nothing like the power of young survivors getting together, one-on-one or in groups, to comfort, laugh, cry, celebrate, or simply share a meal. I spend time with YSCers in my hometown and also, if possible, everywhere I travel. If you’re in New York City or coming here, let me know—I would absolutely love to see you.

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Categories: Guest Bloggers

YSC’s Research Think Tank Remembers Randi Rosenberg (1965-2010)

Diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32 in 1998, Randi Rosenberg was one of the original founding members of Young Survival Coalition (YSC) and its third board president. Her drive to enact change fueled her talented way of engaging the busiest people on the planet to get involved in solving the problem of early onset breast cancer.

Randi Rosenberg (1965-2010)

Randi Rosenberg (1965-2010)

Randi was incredibly smart, funny, inspiring and inquisitive. Although petite, her larger-than-life contagious, collaborative energy filled up a room and motivated others to accomplish common goals. She was a woman who could change the world … and she did.

It was Randi’s view that unlocking the answer to early onset breast cancer was the key to curing most women of breast cancer and that in order to force a national agenda, young survivors of all cancers needed to band together. Her work with the Steering Committee of LIVESTRONG’s Young Adult Alliance (now Critical Mass) in 2006 resulted in Closing The Gap: A Strategic Plan, one of the strongest and most powerful agendas in history to address young adult oncology issues.

She believed that the support young women received at YSC would sustain them in good times and bad.

Randi was diagnosed with bone metastasis in 2006. She died of her disease on February 15, 2010. She leaves behind her partner, Matt Purdue, their beautiful daughter, Alexandra Marais, brothers Lee and Scott, and her mother, Roberta (Bobbi) Rosenberg.

We will be forever grateful for the passion, dedication and joie de vivre that Randi gave to YSC. She taught us that significant change can happen when a few people unite to make a difference.

And so it is that we held a Research Think Tank last week in Randi Rosenberg’s honor – just one week shy of the three-year anniversary of her passing, as happenstance would have it. We gathered researchers, clinicians and advocates who care about increasing the quality and quantity of life for young women affected by breast cancer together in one room so we could collaborate at a level that Randi would have applauded. She truly believed that if we could unlock the key to why young women got breast cancer then we could perhaps better understand it in all women. The think tank proved that Randi lives on in so many of our hearts as we work together to try to improve young women’s lives.

We will honor Randi’s legacy and carry her spirit with us as we continue to ask the key questions that drive forward advances in research pertaining to early onset breast cancer.


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Categories: Guest Bloggers

Channeling Kat at YSC’s Research Think Tank

YSC Research Think TankI was very excited when I got the email last July from Kat Werner inviting me to be part of a YSC project called the Research Think Tank.  The email explained that in 2001 YSC had convened a “Medical Research Symposium on Young Women and Breast Cancer,” which resulted in a white paper that set an agenda for the future direction of research in young women.  Now YSC was re-evaluating the state of the research, in order to identify what “holes” still existed in breast cancer research pertaining to young women.  Kat invited me to be a part of the Think Tank, and I jumped at the chance.

You see, despite my degree in English and my almost total avoidance of science courses in college, I have become a medical science geek. I visit websites that report new medical developments.  I have attended the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium for the past two years, and I have reviewed grant proposals for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program.  So this self-described science geek was thrilled to be invited to be a part of the Research Think Tank that would be a collaboration between advocates and researchers to set a revised agenda for young women with breast cancer.

In preparation for the conference itself, Think Tank advocates were divided into work groups, and each work group was assigned a broad area on which to focus.  I was assigned to the Treatment work group.  This group focused its efforts on analyzing research concerning surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and endocrine therapy specifically in young women and then identifying important issues which had not yet been studied.  What struck my group most as we were exploring the existing research is the total lack of a uniform definition of what constitutes a “young woman with breast cancer.”  Many studies appear to use menopausal status as a surrogate for age, often with no indication that anyone has confirmed the patient’s actual menopausal status.  More significantly, of the studies that have classified women by age, there are studies defining “young women” as those under age 35, those under age 40, those under age 45, and—somewhat astoundingly—those under age 65.  Without a common definition of who is a “young woman with breast cancer,” how will researchers ever be able to reach meaningful conclusions on the appropriate treatment for these women?

Which leads me back to why the upcoming YSC Research Think Tank is so important.  A study presented at last year’s San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium appeared to show that breast cancer in women diagnosed at age 40 or younger responds differently to chemotherapy—almost as if it is a different disease.  Yet this disease is not being systematically studied in this group of women. This is a perfect example as to why we need to focus researchers to help make a measurable impact in the lives of young women affected by breast cancer.

While I have been looking forward to the Think Tank meeting since last July, my excitement has been somewhat dampened by the tears I’ve shed since Kat’s sudden death last September.  Kat had a remarkable talent for cutting through the scientific doublespeak and getting to the heart of the issue or the hole in the science.  She respected the researchers, but she also commanded their respect due to her depth of scientific knowledge and her ability to clearly articulate the survivors’ perspective.  She was never intimidated by the researchers she met because she believed we could only truly find a cure if advocates and scientists worked together.  While I know that others had a part in initiating this Think Tank, it truly reflects Kat’s heart and soul.  It hurts to know she won’t be physically present at the conference she planned to lead, but I hope that I, along with all the advocates and scientists, can channel her spirit as we work to outline the necessary research strategy it will take to improve the lives of young women affected by breast cancer.

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Categories: Guest Bloggers

Thoughts on World Cancer Day

WCDToday is World Cancer Day (http://www.worldcancerday.org/), which I have to be honest, I don’t know if I really get. While I love the idea of dispelling the myths around the disease, I don’t know if we need a special day to do that. Maybe if on this day everyone that has been diagnosed with cancer was given the day off from work – now that would be interesting and worth celebrating.

Many different groups hope that this day will be a day to call attention to the disease itself – but I would be surprised if there was an adult on this planet that has not heard of cancer – awareness of the disease is not going to stop people from dying.

I think that on World Cancer Day two things should happen – the media should dedicate their coverage to advances in science to beating the disease and there should be a world-wide competition to finding a cure.  Oh … And all survivors should take the day off from work.

As a person who has heard the words “you have cancer” – I don’t need a special day to remind me – I remember every day while I battle side effects of treatment and support friends and family who are also survivors.

What about all of those people in the world that have cancer and don’t have access to modern pain medicine and treatment? What about those small organizations that are struggling to serve underserved populations that have been forgotten all over the world? What about all the children that have to face the disease before they have even learned to walk?

World Cancer Day was created as a worldwide effort to dispel the myths about cancer but without the active involvement of every person on the planet to stand up and demand equal and fair care and more importantly a cure – I am not sure what a single day will accomplish.

You want to dispel a myth??? When you are diagnosed with cancer – it is not a death sentence. Every single person on this planet will die some day – and for those of us who have heard the world cancer by our doctor – all that makes us different is that the illusion of immortality is no longer distracting us.

I say on World Cancer Day you hug a survivor and take a pledge to enjoy the day we have all been given to live. Oh … and give all survivors the day off work!

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A Survivor’s Effort to Avoid Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life

BPA FreeWhen I got diagnosed with breast cancer during the final month of my first pregnancy, hormones took on a new importance in my life. My doctors worried the estrogen flooding my body during pregnancy had fueled my tumor’s growth. They warned that chemo might shut down my body’s reproductive hormones and my ability to have another child.

Two years later, I began monitoring those hormones and was overjoyed when I learned I was pregnant with a little girl. Now, 10 years after my diagnosis, I am considering having my ovaries taken out in order to remove these engines of estrogen production—even though I know I can’t take hormone therapy to help me through the throes of menopause.
I work hard to stay healthy and protect myself from cancer triggers. But through my work at an environmental organization, I have learned not all hormone-related threats come from inside our bodies. Some come from chemicals found in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the consumer products we use every day.  Many of these chemicals are known to mimic estrogen, and disrupt the development of breast tissue. Almost none of them are regulated by the government.

This has potentially grave consequences for women and girls. Mammary glands are the only body part that changes structure over time, and this extended development is guided by hormones. When toxic chemicals disrupt this delicate form of communication, the breast can get the wrong message and start restructuring in ways that lay the groundwork for cancer.

Take Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a chemical found in plastic bottles, canned foods and baby toys. It is so common that more than 90 percent of Americans have residues of the chemical in their bodies, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is also a synthetic form of estrogen and has been shown to cause normal breast cells to behave like cancer cells and has been linked to prostate cancer, lower sperm counts, and early puberty.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are another group of chemicals known to mimic estrogen.  PAHs are commonly found in soot—air pollution from burning coal, oil and gasoline. Some PAHs have been shown to cause mammary tumors in rats and to interfere with DNA repair in cells. And several epidemiological studies have linked PAH exposure to increased risk for breast cancer in women.

Similar estrogenic chemicals are found in pesticides and weed killers such as atrazine. Atrazine was banned in the European Union because of its potential to harm human health, but more than 75 million pounds are used in the United States every year and atrazine is frequently found in drinking water during growing seasons. Atrazine is a known hormone disruptor, and some studies have linked it to increased risks for breast cancer.

As someone who avoids eating tofu in order to reduce my exposure to estrogen, I find it alarming we are exposed to so many sources of synthetic hormones every day. But the more we learn, the more we can protect ourselves. We can buy organic produce to avoid pesticides like atrazine. We can use cosmetics free of toxic preservatives. And we can heat and store our food in glass instead of plastic. The Breast Cancer Fund has a terrific set of tips for avoiding hazardous chemicals.

But shopping alone can’t reduce all the risk, since we don’t always know where these chemicals may be lurking. There are more than 80,000 chemicals used in the United States, but the Environmental Protection Agency has required only 200 of them to be tested and only 5 to be regulated. It’s time the government stepped in and demanded manufacturers prove their ingredients pose no harm.

I will never know if toxic chemicals contributed to my tumor. But I do know that if reducing the amount of these chemicals in our lives will shield other women from the anguish of this disease, we must start demanding companies clean up their act now.

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Categories: Guest Bloggers

Upcoming Webinar – Rights in the Workplace: How To Navigate my Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Maintaining a regular work schedule after a breast cancer diagnosis can create a sense of normalcy and purpose for many young women. However, learning and understanding your rights in the workplace may feel confusing and unclear. In YSC’s upcoming webinar, S. Beth Stephens, Staff Attorney for the Breast Cancer Legal Project at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc., will explore these issues and many more. Ms. Stephens previously guest blogged for YSC on the topic of Navigating Breast Cancer and Employment.

Webinar Details:

Title: Rights in the Workplace: How to Navigate My Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Thursday, January 31, 2013: 7:30-8:30 p.m. EST

Registration link:


Speaker: S. Beth Stephens, Attorney at Law; Atlanta Legal Aid Society

This webinar will cover a basic overview of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Additionally, we will answer the questions:

– What are my rights and the rights of my caregiver to take time off of work?
– What do I have to disclose to an employer about my breast cancer diagnosis
– What are my rights when returning to work?
– How do I ask for accommodations to be able to do my job after a breast cancer diagnosis?


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Categories: Guest Bloggers

YSC Announces State Leader Program

We are 1 YSC.

We are 1 YSC.

It brings me great pleasure to announce the rollout of YSC’s State Leader Program, along with the names of our new State Leaders. This is a big deal!!

The State Leader program will link a regional network of experienced volunteer leaders who are committed to YSC’s mission together for the very first time!

As YSC becomes 1 YSC – State Leaders will act as THE link between YSC’s local and statewide communities (survivors, volunteers, & health care providers) and the YSC Regional Field Manager staff. Their contributions will also include identifying state resources, joining other key leaders on a Regional Leader Council, and contributing to outreach, education and awareness activities throughout their region.

These seasoned volunteers have shown an outstanding commitment to YSC’s mission. Their experience, skills and talents will have a significant impact on helping YSC reach even more young woman diagnosed with breast cancer in their region.

Please join me in congratulating these remarkable women and thanking them for all they do – each and every day – to ensure no young woman affected by breast cancer ever has to feel alone.

Their leadership and dedication to YSC’s mission is worthy of extraordinary recognition – since without committed volunteers like these individuals – we would be unable to support as many young women with breast cancer as we do! THANK YOU!!!

Texas Michigan California New Hampshire
Michelle Piña Amos Maureen Parrish Lissette Averhoff Jennifer Beaudet
Sandy Castillo Ellen Schwerin
Missouri Amanda Nixon Pennsylvania
South Carolina Kristin Ainsworth Rose Kristin Graham Jodi Inverso
Libby Seabrook Brown Angela McCourt Kim Hagerich
Shari Payne Kaple Wisconsin
Laura Kuecker Washington New Jersey
Florida Judy Haley Diana Di Mare
Linda Larkin Wendy Keating Victoria St. Martin
Karen Lawson
Georgia New York
Janice  Weaver Arizona Paulina Kashirsky
Felicia  Mahone Mikala Edwards Kate McGough
Mindy Carpenter
District of Columbia
Erin Price
Devin Boerm
Melissa Richardson
Julie Klaski
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Congratulations Stacy and Lori!

YSC turns 15 years old this year!!! We will be celebrating throughout the entire year to recognize the hard work of SO many dedicated volunteers and staff. I feel honored to be able to take part in these acknowledgements, especially since they symbolize the hard work and dedication of so many young women with breast cancer across the country. The amazing volunteers and survivors in San Diego played a part … as did women in Atlanta … Duluth … Kansas City … Philadelphia … the list goes on … and on! There are so many people to thank and identify – we need an entire year to do it!

To kick off the festivities, I would like to pay homage to two spectacular women … Stacy Lewis and Lori Atkinson. Seven years ago this month, both of these outstanding women began their employment with YSC. As the organization turns 15 and we begin the year by commemorating this anniversary, we also start the year by hailing the achievements and long-standing tenure of these outstanding professionals. They have now BOTH been on staff longer than any other employees in YSC’s history.

That is something to celebrate!


Stacy Lewis, CHES, Chief Program Officer and Deputy Chief Executive

Stacy Lewis, CHES, Chief Program Officer and Deputy Chief Executive

Stacy Lewis started as YSC’s first Program Director on staff and she’s been leading us to greatness ever since! Stacy’s outgoing personality and brilliant mind is a driving force behind YSC’s solid reputation for delivering truthful and accurate data and materials. Stacy has built relationships with healthcare professionals, researchers and organizations that have strengthened YSC’s ability to support young women with breast cancer across the country. A few years after she joined YSC, Stacy was promoted to VP of Programming to take advantage of her strategic planning and management skills, especially with regard to the management of C4YW – the largest conference dedicated to young women with breast cancer in the world. One of the first things I noticed when I was hired as YSC’s CEO was Stacy’s incredible knowledge of science and survivorship issues – and I promptly promoted her to Chief Program Officer/Deputy Chief Executive. I truly believe that YSC is a smarter and better organization due to Stacy’s contributions. It is a great honor to be able to highlight her seven years of service to YSC. Thank you, Stacy!!!



Lori Atkinson, Chief Community Officer

Lori Atkinson, Chief Community Officer

Lori Atkinson began volunteering with YSC in 2000, so her relationship with YSC actually began 13 years ago. Before she joined YSC’s staff, Lori served as its Volunteer Chair for Central Indiana, where she worked hard to build YSC’s reputation and reach young women in her local community. In 2006, Lori was hired as YSC’s first Affiliate Manager and she diligently supported women around the country who were a part of an affiliate. There are very few YSC members who don’t know Lori – if you’re acquainted with her, I’m sure you know she’s one of the kindest and hardest working people there is. A few years after that, Lori was promoted to Affiliate Director of Development to foster YSC’s growing affiliate structure to help more young women with breast cancer throughout the United States. In my first year working at YSC, Lori and I worked very closely together to analyze the current affiliate model and determine how we could strengthen it. Everything Lori does focuses on the critical issue of how YSC can better reach and support young women affected by breast cancer. I know I can rely on her to always put our volunteers and survivors first in everything she does … always! In 2012, I was proud to promote Lori to Chief Community Officer of YSC. Her commitment to both YSC and the success of our volunteer programs is exceptional. I thank my lucky stars that back in 2000 YSC was there to not only support Lori in her journey as a young survivor, but also keep her actively engaged with YSC 13 years later (WOW!!!). Thank you, Lori!!!


These two women are the brains of the programmatic work that YSC is well known for. They both care deeply about our community and work tirelessly to ensure that every young women diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. knows we are here and that she’s a part of our family.

As we embark upon our 15 year anniversary today, please join me in thanking and acknowledging Stacy Lewis and Lori Atkinson for seven years of service to YSC. If one of them has touched your life or done something special for you during the past seven years, please consider leaving a comment to express your appreciation.

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