BRCA Mutations: What’s New in Clinical Trials?

BioMarin, a biopharmaceutical company, is launching a clinical trial to evaluate BMN 673, a potential first best-in-class PARP (poly ADP-ribose polymerase) inhibitor. This inhibitor is for patients with hereditary forms of breast cancer, specifically deleterious gBRCA mutation, in women with locally advanced and metastatic breast cancer. A PARP inhibitor is a targeted therapy, which interferes with a cancer cell’s ability to repair DNA and may lead to death of cancer cells. Because it is a “targeted” therapy, the drug goes after only the cancer-related cells rather than all cells.

The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC), a nonprofit organization committed to the eradication of breast cancer, is a collaborating partner in the BMN 673 research. YSC, as a board member of NBCC, supports their efforts. NBCC’s partnership decisions on clinical trials follow rigorous criteria including significance of the research question, rigor of study design and ethical conduct of the trial among others. The BioMarin clinical trial proposed for BMN 673 meets those criteria. The BioMarin trial is unique because the team includes advocates who have received training through NBCC’s intensive science training program, Project LEAD®. Tracy Leduc and I attended the investigators’ meeting for this trial in Miami last week. The team truly cares about finding better, less toxic ways to fight breast cancer. The Phase 1 and 2 results of this trial show a high likelihood of success.

“BioMarin wants to make big differences in the lives of patients. We are honored to include a seat at the table for our colleagues from NBCC. Our efforts are best served by hearing their voice from the beginning and taking action together,” said Hank Fuchs, Chief Medical Officer of BioMarin.

“We look forward to conducting a world-class study in collaboration with the finest clinical investigators in the world to evaluate the safety and efficacy of BMN 673 in the metastatic setting. Our advocates are poised to change the world through our actions. Ultimately, we hope to prevent women from getting breast cancer and prevent it from spreading outside the breast,” Fran Visco, NBCC President added.

The BioMarin trial is underway and recruiting women ages 18 and older with a gBRCA mutation, who have experienced metastasis or a local recurrence after treatment for their initial diagnosis. For more information on the trial and how to enroll, please visit http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT01286987

About the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC)
NBCC is dedicated to knowing how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020 through the power of grassroots action and advocacy. NBCC supports increasing funding for innovative breast cancer research; monitors how those funds are spent; expands access to quality health care for all; and ensures that trained advocates influence all decision making in breast cancer. Join NBCC, learn more and take action. Visit BreastCancerDeadline2020.org.

About BioMarin
BioMarin develops and commercializes innovative biopharmaceuticals for serious diseases and medical conditions. The company’s product portfolio comprises four approved products and multiple clinical and pre-clinical product candidates. For additional information, please visit www.BMRN.com.


Joy Simha, diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer in 1994, is one of the three Co-Founders of YSC.  She is a former YSC Board Member and has represented YSC on the Board of Directors of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). Joy graduated NBCC’s Project LEAD®  in 1998 and has served as an educated consumer advocate as a member of the Integration Panel of the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program since 2009.

Most recently Joy was co-chair of YSC’s 2013 Research Think Tank in order to insure researchers and educated advocates worked together to define the research priorities that would make the greatest impact in the quantity and quality of life for young women affected by breast cancer.  She currently lives and works as a writer and consultant out of her home in New Jersey.

 

 

 

Leave a comment

YSC Research Updates

YSC wants to keep our constituents updated on relevant medical news, and we have three breast cancer updates to share.  They include:  (1)  FDA approval of Perjeta before surgery in HER2+ breast cancer; (2) the PALOMA study that includes young women in the study of a new drug for women with hormone receptor positive metastatic breast cancer; and (3) the BROCADE study which will also enroll young women with a BRCA mutation to test veliparib, a PARP inhibitor, in women with recurrent or metastatic breast cancer.

Perjeta

This past fall, the FDA granted accelerated approval of the drug Perjeta (Pertuzumab) for use before surgery (also called “neoadjuvant” use) in women with HER2+ early stage breast cancer.  The FDA approval was based on the NEOSPHERE (Neoadjuvant Study of Pertuzumab and Herceptin in an Early Regimen Evaluation) study which showed that four cycles (12 weeks) of treatment with Perjeta, Herceptin and Docetaxel  (Taxotere) in patients with HER2+, locally advanced inflammatory or early stage breast cancer, significantly improved the rate of total pathological complete response (pCR) prior to surgery.  A total pCR occurs when, at the time of surgery, there is no detectable evidence of breast cancer remaining.  In the Perjeta, Herceptin, and Docetaxel group, 39.3% of patients experienced a pCR, compared to 21.5% in the group without Perjeta (receiving  Herceptin and Docetaxel only).  The most common side effects from Perjeta include a reduction in white blood cell counts, diarrhea, and hair loss, although heart problems are a potential serious side effect which should be closely monitored.

Like Herceptin, Perjeta targets the HER2 receptor, a protein found in large quantities on the outside of HER2+ cancer cells.  Perjeta works nicely with Herceptin as they both bind to different places and may result in a greater blocking of the HER signaling pathway and therefore slow the growth of or kill the cancer cells.  Perjeta was previously approved by the FDA for use in women with metastatic HER2+ breast cancer who had not yet received anti-HER2 therapy or chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer.

Perjeta is the first treatment specifically approved by the FDA for neoadjuvant use and marks the first time that FDA granted a drug approval based upon pCR.  The FDA’s accelerated approval mechanism is a conditional approval, which makes it possible for drugs shown in early studies to have a clinical benefit to be available to patients more quickly, with full FDA approval granted later if additional studies confirm the drug’s benefit and safety.  The FDA will examine results from the ongoing APHINITY trial (examining chemotherapy and Herceptin with and without Perjeta), expected to be completed in 2016, to determine whether a full approval will be given to Perjeta.  There is currently no data which shows whether Perjeta prior to surgery improves overall survival.

Two Studies for Metastatic Breast Cancer to Include Young Women

Young women are not always included in clinical trials, especially in the metastatic setting, so we want to be sure that you are aware of two current offerings.

PALOMA-3

PALOMA-3 is a Pfizer-sponsored Phase 3 trial to investigate its drug palbociclib in women with hormone receptor positive (HR+), HER2 negative, metastatic breast cancer whose disease has progressed after prior endocrine (hormonal) therapy.  Palbociclib blocks cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (proteins upregulated in many tumor cell types that regulate cell replication), thereby hindering tumor cell progression.  An interim analysis of a Phase 2 trial of palbociclib, presented at San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in 2012, showed progression-free survival (period of time without tumor progression) of 26.1 months for patients on palbociclib plus an aromatase inhibitor letrozole (Femara) compared to 7.5 months for patients on letrozole alone.  This same study showed that neutropenia, a low number of neutrophils (type of white blood cell), was the most common side effect.

Two phase 3 trials of palbociclib are now enrolling for women with metastatic breast cancer that is HR+, HER2 negative and that progressed after prior endocrine therapy.  One trial is for post-menopausal women and the other includes pre and peri-menopausal women ages 18 and older.  Pre and perimenopausal women will be given an LHRH antagonist shot to shut down the ovaries.  In this double blind, placebo-controlled trial, patients will be randomized to receive either palbociclib and fulvestrant (an estrogen receptor antagonist also known as Faslodex, used after a patient’s tumor has progressed on other antiestrogen therapy) or a placebo and fulvestrant.  The researchers will examine whether the addition of palbociclib prolongs progression-free survival and compare safety between the two arms.  Palbociclib is an oral medication dosed daily for 3 weeks with one week off while fulvestrant is a shot administered at regular intervals.  For more details on this trial, please visit:

http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01942135?term=PALOMA&rank=1

BROCADE

A new international clinical trial is enrolling patients of all ages with metastatic or recurrent breast cancer who are BRCA 1 or 2 positive to test the efficacy and safety of veliparib, a PARP (poly ADP-ribose polymerase) inhibitor to be used in conjunction with chemotherapy.  A PARP inhibitor is a targeted therapy which interferes with a cancer cell’s ability to repair DNA and may lead to death of cancer cells.  Because it is a “targeted” therapy, the drug goes after only the cancer-related cells rather than all cells.  PARP inhibitors have shown mixed results in prior studies, but it is believed that they hold promise in breast cancers with BRCA 1/2 mutations.

Participants in BROCADE will be randomized to one of three treatment arms:  (1) Veliparib with temozolomide (Temodar) (an oral chemotherapy); (2) Veliparib with carboplatin and paclitaxel (both regimens given through infusion, the latter known as Taxol); or (3) placebo with carboplatin and paclitaxel.  Common side effects of PARP inhibitors include anemia, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.  More than two prior cancer treatments for metastatic breast cancer and/or a prior taxane therapy for metastatic breast cancer as well as brain metastases may exclude study participation.  This study is being conducted by AbbVie, formerly part of Abbott Laboratories.  For more details on this study, please visit:  http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01506609?term=veliparib&rank=3

This information is presented for educational purposes only.  These treatments may not be available or best for everyone.  As always, please consult your physician for details on the best treatments for you.

Sources:

http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/byaudience/forpatientadvocates/speedingaccesstoimportantnewtherapies/ucm128291.htm

http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/14548/2013-09-30/fda-grants-genentechs-perjeta-accelerate

http://www.genomeweb.com/clinical-genomics/asco-pfizer-unveils-study-er-positive-her2-negative-breast-cancer-rx-herceptin-b

http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01942135?term=PALOMA&rank=1

http://cdmrp.army.mil/bcrp/research_highlights/13slamon_highlight.shtml

http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01506609?term=veliparib&rank=3

www.BROCADEStudy.com

http://annonc.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2010/07/19/annonc.mdq322.full

http://www.onclive.com/publications/oncology-live/2012/july-2012/the-parp-inhibitors-down-but-not-out/2

http://www.facingourrisk.org/information_research/newsletter_archives/2013spring/parp-inhibitor-research.php

Leave a comment

3 Rides, 2 Options, 1 Purpose

Jen Merschdorf (left) at 2013 West Coast TdP, with YSC State Leader and survivor Kate McGough. (Photo by Capture 14)

Jen Merschdorf (left) at 2013 West Coast TdP, with YSC State Leader and survivor Kate McGough. (Photo by Capture 14)

Did you hear? All YSC Tour De Pink® (TdP) routes are new this year – how cool is that?

The East Coast (Sept. 19-21) route begins in Philadelphia and ends on Assateague Island, Md. I didn’t know much about Assateague, let alone how to pronounce it. But when I saw pictures, I fell in love with this gorgeous island.

When you arrive at Assateague – which is a National Park – wild horses greet you on the beautiful beach!  During our three days, we will ride from Philadelphia to Dover, Del., and stay at Dover Downs. From Dover, we will explore Maryland’s scenic Eastern Shore. On day three, we’ll enjoy the waves crashing, horses galloping and celebrating 200 miles of riding through Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.

Oh, and one more thing – the optional century ride on day two is a flat (yes, FLAT) 100 miles. I think I’m going to go for it! I have always wanted to do a century but never had the guts. This could be my year.

The West Coast (Oct. 17-19) route begins in Paso Robles, Calif. Once again, Giant Bicycles will send us off, but from a new starting location. (Side note: I have said this before, but Giant’s partnership with YSC is immeasurable. For my first TdP as a survivor rider two years ago, I received a donated Inspire bike from Liv/Giant. The bike, designed by a YSC survivor and TdP alumni rider, was the boost I needed to learn to ride – and the rest is history.)

Now, back to the route. We will ride from San Luis Obispo to Solvang and finish at Point Mugu. I’m from the West Coast, so this ride holds a special place in my heart. Riding in California inspires me to keep riding for all young women affected by breast cancer who can’t join us. I take deep breaths as I look at the ocean (while trying to keep my eyes on the road) and remember my own breast cancer journey.

Solvang, Calif., is one of the cutest little towns and I can’t wait for you all to experience it with me. The little bakeries and shops give you that hometown feel with beautiful California sunshine. And we end day three on the beach….. AHHHH! It can’t come soon enough!

The Atlanta ride (Oct. 25), our one-day ride, is once again in the Atlanta, Ga., suburbs but we’re taking a more scenic route this year. This will be my first time heading south for the Atlanta ride and I can’t wait to see it. I have heard so many stories from participants who look forward to the event year after year.  It really is much more than a bike ride. It’s a family-friendly event with more than 800 participants from the surrounding community.

After participants run, walk or ride, they enjoy food and drinks in the hospitality area from local community restaurants. Then they browse the expo area to check out local businesses. I am looking forward to being with the local community of survivors as we watch the emotional opening ceremony together!

Of course I want September and October to hurry up and get here so I can ride my bike alongside so many of you, but I need to get training AND fundraising. I am dragging myself to the gym through the snow and ice that have blanketed the East Coast. As soon as it is warm enough, I will be back in the saddle with my heart set on riding my first century! Fundraising is the easy part, but I always put it off too long – so this year I am going to start early.

So, which one will you ride this year? A flat century in September? A ride through the California vineyards in October? Or a one-day community event in Atlanta?

Sign up now – before all the spots sell out: http://www.ysctourdepink.org/

Comments (2)
Categories: Taking my Body Back

I Hate Breast Cancer!

How StudyI am sorry – I have to say it. I hate breast cancer. I hate that it can take a young woman too soon and leave families to grieve. I hate that it leaves scars on everyone it touches on both the inside and the outside. I hate that people think incorrectly that it is always a “curable cancer” as it sneaks around and continues to kill, injure and destroy.

I know that during the holiday season I should be focused on how much I, and all of us, have to be thankful for – but I don’t feel like it. I feel like saying what we all feel – I HATE BREAST CANCER!

Ok – I know throwing a temper tantrum is not really going to change anything, so let’s talk about something that actually WILL make a difference….. the Health of Women (HOW) Study. Have you heard about it? The HOW Study is awesome…. and I don’t say that about many studies.

This is a study for ALL women.

All ages.

All colors.

Women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

And women who have not been diagnosed.

ALL WOMEN.

If you have never been diagnosed – but care about someone who has – this is an easy way to make an impact. In order to find out what might be causing breast cancer, we need women who have NOT been diagnosed to participate, too.

What I also love about this study is that Dr. Susan Love is determined to find and expose the true side effects of breast cancer treatment – and NO ONE else is focusing here with such determination. If you have breast cancer and are young – you need to sign up and share with Dr. Love all of the side effects you have experienced – so that the voices of all young women with breast cancer are heard loud and clear.

Here is a quote from Dr. Love regarding what she is finding so far…

“Most interesting to me was the fact that many of you were not told or at least did not remember being told about the side effects that we, as a medical profession, know will happen. For example, you will always be numb after a mastectomy and will never get the feeling back. It has to do with the way the operation is done cutting all the sensory nerves. In addition, a reconstructed breast will never have sensation! I used to yell at the plastic surgeons when I was in practice because they would say things like ‘your new breast will look normal and feel normal.’ Other long term consequences such as neuropathy, pins and needles and sensory problems from the chemotherapy also don’t get better. Some of the sexual issues, i.e. loss of libido or dryness, can be caused by drugs especially Aromatase Inhibitors and could resolve once you stop taking them. But, if it is caused by being put into menopause, they probably won’t resolve. While most of us would accept the consequences of treatment to save our lives, we really should know what to expect! When we formally collect all the data on these issues in the HOW study in the spring, we will present it to the medical profession and see if we can use it to change pre-treatment education.”

So as we begin to focus on another year coming to an end, let’s do something that will actually make a difference. Join me in signing up for the HOW Study. It’s simple, important and will make a real difference for thousands of women – how often are you given that opportunity?

If you are a woman – sign up and ask five of your girlfriends to do the same. It is easy – all you have to do is share this link: www.questionthecure.org

Remember – you do not have to be a breast cancer survivor to sign up – you simply need to be a woman who cares.

Join me – let’s do something together that makes real change!

Comment (1)

State Leaders Throw YSC a 15th Birthday Party

Happy 15th Birthday YSC! What do balloons, cake and frozen yogurt have to do with YSC?  They were all part of YSC’s 15th birthday parties held by YSC state leaders across the country. These events were held to celebrate YSC’s anniversary and provide networking opportunities for young women.

State leaders invited their friends, family and coworkers to celebrate the work YSC has accomplished, build excitement for upcoming programs and let people know how they could become involved as a volunteer through the new volunteer engagement initiative, Ignite.

YSC Birthday Party @ NordstromSeveral state leaders combined their YSC birthday party with the Nordstrom We Heart a Great Fit event. Ohio State Leader Julie Klaski had a group of girlfriends meet at Nordstrom, where they shared treats, had a great shopping trip and helped support YSC.

In Maryland, State Leader Lori Yori hosted a YSC birthday party for oncology nurses.  She used the event to ensure the nurses in her area know about YSC and are able to inform their patients about YSC’s programs and services.

Zumba for YSC!Washington State Leader Karen Lawson combined her passion for volunteering and riding in YSC Tour de Pink into an occasion that celebrated both events.

Celebrate 15 years of YSC by giving the gift of your time; sign up today to volunteer for YSC!

Register as a YSC Volunteer

Register as a YSC Volunteer

 

Comment (1)

Celebrating 10 Years of YSC Tour de Pink

Lisa, at left,  and fellow YSC Founding Member Jill Frank with a colorful TdP fan.

Lisa, at left, and fellow YSC Founding Member Jill Frey with a colorful TdP fan.

This year was incredible at Tour de Pink (TdP) for so many reasons including a fabulous milestone – celebrating the 10th anniversary Tour de Pink East Coast ride. Ten years ago, Matt Purdue and I were able to convince four other cyclists plus support volunteers to ride from Boston to NYC to raise money and awareness for YSC. That small but powerful effort has grown to more than 1,000 participants and over $1 million raised annually between the East Coast, West Coast and Atlanta TdP rides.

After each year’s Tour de Pink I look back and say, it went by so quickly, I didn’t get any good pictures, I can’t believe I won’t see all of these amazing people for another year and many other thoughts. And this year was no different. However, in a way I cannot quite express, there was something different this year in a very, very positive way.

The energy on the rides was fabulous. Everyone was upbeat, excited to ride, volunteer or work their particular role. Balancing this energy was a subtle peacefulness and relaxed atmosphere. I know that sounds odd and mutually exclusive. I really wish I could articulate it better. It was just something intangible yet beautiful.

For those of you who have not experienced Tour de Pink (#YSCTdP), at the Friday and Saturday night dinners we invite a survivor and a caregiver to speak to the participants. They tell their story, why they are riding or volunteering and what the ride means to them. Everyone has their own way of expressing this.

Some do so through touching stories, others through tears and still others through humor (like the Top 10 reasons to ride in Tour de Pink á la David Letterman’s Top 10). But each story only further supports the meaning of the ride and the bond we all form with each other for a common cause — to raise money for YSC and its programs so that no young woman has to go through breast cancer alone.

Get a glimpse at what an amazing time we had at Tour de Pink in the 2013 East Coast and West Coast online photo albums (all photos by Jake Orness). Registration for next year’s rides will open in early 2014, so please visit our website then to find out more.

Finally, I’d like to share something said to me this year that is perhaps my favorite line from the 2013 YSC Tour de Pink. Now, granted, there were a number of really great things said along the way, but, when my metropolitan (that’s a new nickname for metastatic because it sounds so swanky!) sister rode her bike next to mine on day two of West Coast Tour de Pink she said, “You know what I decided today? I decided today I don’t have cancer!” And you know what? … She lived that on the ride and tries to live it every day.

And so another Tour de Pink season ends and we close out with the same reason we ride every year … Because We Can!

 

Comment (1)

Annabel Berney

 

YSC's 15 Volunteers Making a Difference

Annabel Berney — YSC Chanpion

Annabel at her bat mitzvah.

Annabel at her bat mitzvah.

Charity and giving back are cornerstones of Annabel Berney’s upbringing.  The importance of aiding others — either working hands-on or raising critical funds — has been stressed to her since childhood. As Annabel began preparing for her bat mitzvah, marking her (religious) journey to adulthood, she started to wonder how this event could have an even larger impact.

Annabel’s Aunt Nancy, her mother’s sister, is a young woman living with metastatic breast cancer. First diagnosed with breast cancer at age 28, Nancy learned three years later, when Annabel was two years old, that the cancer had returned and spread to her sternum. Throughout Annabel’s life, her aunt has demonstrated what it means to be strong and to persevere, showing Annabel she can do anything she puts her mind to.

When Annabel told her mother that she wanted to utilize her bat mitzvah to raise money for breast cancer in honor of her aunt, her mom was overwhelmed. Family and friends already familiar with Nancy’s struggle applauded Annabel’s efforts with generous donations.

Annabel and her Aunt Nancy.

Annabel and her Aunt Nancy.

Annabel’s appeal raised over $13,000 and brought the message of breast health to a group of blossoming young women. As she focused on preparing for her bat mitzvah, Annabel noted that, “YSC took care of every detail behind the scenes; the donation process was simple.”

Register as a YSC Volunteer

On that special day, Annabel acknowledged her aunt and all the other young women facing similar challenges. She thought of others, not herself, looking to inspire those in her circle to do the same. Annabel’s commitment to being of service didn’t end that night. At school, Annabel takes part in community projects such as beautifying local parks, holding Thanksgiving dinner for those who are alone on the holiday and participating in a school buddy project, where she spends time with younger kids at a local public school.

As Annabel gets older, she hopes to continue raising awareness among her peers that young women can and do get breast cancer.

Thank you Annabel, for remembering every young woman with breast cancer as you honored your aunt on your special day!

To host a successful fundraising event like Annabel’s:

• Download our Community Fundraising Guidelines.

• Create your own fundraising page.

• Publicize your event.

 

 

Comment (1)

Dustin Brady

 

YSC's 15 Volunteers Making a Difference

Dustin Brady — Volunteer, Tour de Pink West Coast Rider

Display in Honor of Michelle Weiser at Giant Headquarters.

Display in Honor of Michelle Weiser at Giant Headquarters.

In 2008 Dustin was engaged to Michelle Weiser. When Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 38, Dustin helped her fight back in every way possible. Sadly she passed away, and Dustin has honored her legacy by saying F-You to cancer ever day since.

Dustin signed up for YSC’s Tour de PInk (TdP) West Coast event and, as a cyclist himself, eagerly joined the Giant Bicycle “Weiser’s Army” team. His first year, Dustin raised $10,000 for YSC.

Inspired by the courage he saw displayed by every survivor riding and the camaraderie he felt during the three days, he made a commitment to not only stay involved but to raise more money!

Dustin expanded his line of F&CK CANCER merchandise (which he sold while fundraising) and created an online store to promote and sell it. Proceeds from these products go to his YSC TdP team and help YSC (#YSCBuzz) continue providing support to all young women diagnosed with breast cancer.

This year he raised an astounding $60,000 for YSC!

Dustin and Noel

Dustin rides to not only honor Michelle’s memory but also to support all the young women currently battling this disease. Dustin doesn’t see TdP (#YSCTdP) as just another ride, he says “It’s three days of family, love and encouragement.”

Thank you Dustin for your unwavering support of YSC. We say F-You to cancer with you!

 

Leave a comment

John Keating

 

YSC's 15 Volunteers Making a Difference

John Keating — Founder, Seattle Face 2 Face Network “Reservoir Dawgs”

John created an organized support group just for husbands and partners when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30.

John and wife Wendy.

John and wife Wendy.

In the winter of 2008, John was self-employed and focused on his business, until his wife Wendy heard the words, “You have breast cancer.” The news surprised the couple and changed their lives. Wendy began chemotherapy in the early spring of 2008 and continued into the fall of the same year. What was supposed to be outpatient chemotherapy shifted to an inpatient treatment plan. John worried Wendy’s chemo was taking a toll on her physically and mentally.

John happened to tell his physical therapist about his wife’s diagnosis and she suggested Wendy call her colleague, another young woman with breast cancer involved with Young Survival Coalition (YSC). Wendy found other women who understood her challenges.

Register as a YSC Volunteer

Not long after that, John began to wonder, where’s the group that supports the co-survivors? John then had an idea: why not create a time and place for the guys to get together? Carl Taylor and Brandon Wright, both husbands of young survivors agreed, and John had just the place — the Reservoir Tavern. A new YSC Face 2 Face (F2F) “The Reservoir Dawgs” began.

The Resevoir Dawgs.

The Resevoir Dawgs.

To make this endeavor successful, the men decided on a few guidelines: Meet the first Friday of every month, cell phones couldn’t ring (unless they expected a family emergency) and no medical advice could be given.  The guys also took up a monthly collection to assist any of the young women who might need it. Money was thrown in the bucket if they spilled a drink or a cell phone rang and most importantly if you spilled another’s drink — you not only owed, but you bought him another!

The sole purpose of the night was to give the guys time to discuss their own questions and sometimes even their fears.

The Reservoir Dawgs grew, and the members came to depend on each other, helping with childcare and assisting each other in the job market. Building friendships that will last a lifetime.

Thank you John for taking an active role and creating a real and lasting solution to give support to caregivers!

Comments (2)

Robert and Nancy Piña

 

YSC's 15 Volunteers Making a Difference

Robert and Nancy Piña — Parents, Caregivers and Members of YSC Houston Face 2 Face Network

Lisa, Robert & Nancy volunteering with YSC at an event in their community.

Lisa, Robert & Nancy volunteering with YSC at an event in their community.

In 2005, the Piña’s daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer at 33. A close-knit family, Robert and Nancy strategized how they could support Michelle through this challenge. Nancy became the primary caregiver, accompanying Michelle to doctors’ appointments and trying to ask the right questions. She took a leave from work, then early retirement.

As Michelle underwent chemotherapy, she sought resources for young women with breast cancer and found Young Survival Coalition’s (YSC’s) website and Community Boards. By the end of her treatment, Michelle was attending events hosted by the local YSC Houston group.

The annual Houston YSC gala in the fall of 2008 provided Robert and Nancy the opportunity to see firsthand what YSC meant to their daughter. Although they spent most of the night setting up and tearing down, they were grateful to witness young women kicking up their heels and forgetting the day-to-day business of breast cancer.

Register as a YSC Volunteer

Inspired to do more, they attended a local YSC planning meeting and recruited other family members, including Michelle’s sister, Lisa, and both of her grandmothers.

The Piñas wanted to educate other families to be empowered caregivers. Robert and Nancy felt “It was important for parents to learn all they could about what a young woman with breast cancer might experience. Knowledge will make them less fearful and better able to support their daughters.”

Michelle with other young survivors at the Houston ILP (#YSCILP).

Michelle with other young survivors at the Houston ILP (#YSCILP).

As part of their efforts, they spearheaded the distribution of YSC’s Newly Diagnosed Resource Kit (NDRK) in Houston. Over a span of four years, the family helped to assemble and distribute nearly 1,200 NDRK’s, an amazing feat!

Thank you Robert and Nancy for all you and your family have done to educate other families and medical providers in the Houston area!

 

Leave a comment