3 Perspectives of YSC’s Regional Symposium

Just three weeks ago, YSC hosted its first Regional Symposium in the South. Jackson Mississippi welcomed us with open arms as nearly 100 young women affected by breast cancer, co-survivors and healthcare providers came together for a full day of learning, empowerment and hope. We were thrilled to co-host the Symposium with the Gulf States Young Breast Cancer Survivor Network, which includes SurviveAL, SurviveDAT and SurviveMISS. The event included inspirational speakers and plenty of time to connect and network with one another.

I interviewed three Symposium attendees about their thoughts and experience before, during and after the event. Here’s what they had to say:


Wendy
, diagnosed at age 36, YSC Arkansa State Leader

WendyWhat did you hope to gain from attending the Symposium?
I attended because I wanted to gain more knowledge on other types of breast cancer, which has affected so many people I come in contact with. I also hoped to be more accessible to all cancer survivors as a voice to help them get the best treatment possible.

What was your favorite thing about the Symposium?
My favorite parts were the individual sessions because they gave everyone a chance to bond on a more personable level.

Do you have any tips or take-aways to share with others interested in attending future YSC conferences?
I offer this advice to anyone who’s considering attending a YSC event – come fully expecting to walk away a different person from all the event has to offer. I won’t give away too much, just come on out and see for yourself!

How has attending the Symposium impacted you?
This symposium has left me feeling like I need to do more in my own community with the tools that have been shared.

 

Shauntice Allen, PhD, Public Health Researcher, IMG_9739Regional Advisory Board Member for SurviveAL and currently living with metastatic breast cancer after an initial Stage I diagnosis in 2012.

Dr. Allen hosted two work sessions at the Regional Symposium – Relationships and Intimacy: Embracing My Relationships Now and Relationships and Intimacy: My New Body, My New Self.

What did you hope to gain from attending the Symposium?
I hoped to gain a new network of those living with metastatic breast cancer. I had an opportunity to meet women across the Southeast who provided me with a new sense of hope as it related to metastatic breast cancer.

What was your favorite thing about the Symposium?
I enjoyed the dinner and opportunity to relax with participants. I also thoroughly enjoyed the sessions I facilitated; it sparked great conversation and new insights for those in attendance and for myself.

Do you have any tips or take-aways to share with others interested in attending future YSC conferences?
Make sure to attend a YSC conference or regional symposium – the information and relationships gained are priceless.

 

David, Co-survivor to his wife Jami Watson, who was diagnosed at 33 and a YSC Mississippi State Leader and F2F Coordinator

Craig and JamiWhat did you hope to gain from attending the Symposium?
As a co-survivor to my wife, Jami, I was hoping to just be a support for her by attending, as has been my typical role with this journey. She did, however, encourage me to go for the co-survivor sessions.

What was your favorite thing about the Symposium?
At this event, there was a session specifically for us co-survivors that allowed for us to each share our wives’ stories but from our perspective. For the first time I actually shared with other men the journey my wife and I have had with breast cancer and I was able to hear their personal stories of struggle and victory.

Do you have any tips or take-aways to share with others interested in attending future YSC conferences?
If you’re a co-survivor reading this and wondering if it’ll be worth your time to go to a YSC event like this, don’t wonder anymore. It IS worth every minute. You’ll be blessed, encouraged, and enlightened; and most of all, your survivor spouse will most definitely feel supported and loved. I came away with an even greater appreciation for the Young Survival Coalition; what this organization is doing for women (and co-survivors) is unprecedented and is a noble and worthy cause! My wife and I will continue to support YSC and look forward to the next event.

How has attending the Symposium impacted you?
As the Symposium progressed, I gained more perspective of how far-reaching breast cancer is in these women’s lives. I met women who had beaten this cancer multiple times, others who are currently battling metastatic disease, and women who were newly diagnosed; all of whom were strong, courageous, willing to share experiences and gain more strength from those around them. Heck, even some of the medical professionals speaking at the event were breast cancer survivors or current patients! It was encouraging to see these women in all stages of the battle there celebrating victory and refusing to let cancer beat them, no matter what part of the battle they were in.


Did you attend the YSC Regional Symposium in Jackson, MS? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Please share your experiences in the comments section below. 

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Are you now interested in attending YSC’s next big event? You’re in luck! The YSC National Summit is less than 4 weeks away and we’d love to see you there. Join us in Atlanta, GA from March 11 to 13 for the largest conference for young women affected by breast cancer and their co-survivors.

Register today at summit.youngsurvival.org/Registration
Fee waiver applications will also be available until February 16.
For more details and to apply: summit.youngsurvival.org/Waivers

 

 

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Categories: YSC Conferences

5 Tasty Ways to Celebrate Galentine’s Day

Forget Valentine’s Day! Galentine’s Day, coined by Leslie Knope the charming character from the show Parks and Recreation, is the real holiday worth celebrating.

Join in the wonderful tradition by celebrating friendship with your best gal pals this February 13.  At Cook For Your LIFE, our mission is to teach healthy cooking to people touched by cancer. We believe that the first step toward healthy eating is cooking at home, and what better way to show your love for your girlfriends than a home cooked meal?

Here are some of our favorite ideas to celebrate Galentine’s Day.

1. Have a healthy potluck

Skip the high calorie and price at a restaurant and host a healthy potluck. CookForYourLife.org is full of delicious recipes from simple to extravagant to fit everyone’s skill level. Our founder, Ann Ogden, is a breast cancer survivor so making delicious recipes that are great for breast health is one of our specialties. Check out some of our favorites to try our with your “breast friends.”

2. Have a mocktail party:

mocktailThere’s a fun cocktail idea for just about every holiday, but can’t we enjoy a festive night with friends sans alcohol? Stack your bar with pomegranate juice, oranges, sparkling apple cider, limes, mint and seltzer for a plethora of delicious fun drinks from Mock Sangria to an Orange Mint Twist.

3. Choose an adventurous meal and make it together:

Have you been waiting for the perfect evening to try out a crazy new recipe? Have everyone grab a few of ingredients at the grocery store on their way over and give it a go. PopcornYou can make a five-star meal and have fun while you’re doing it.

4. Popcorn and a movie:

Popcorn and a movie are a great pair, just like you and your best friend. Take it easy at night and get inventive with your popcorn choices. We have awesome popcorn recipes like Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn, Chai Spiced Popcorn, Rosemary Olive Oil Popcorn, and Southern Spiced Popcorn. Have a fun taste test, and hey, Pizzapopcorn is a whole grain!

5. Pizza Party:

Pizza at home can be healthy, no really! We have a ton of great vegetable-loaded pizza makeovers that everyone loves. You can either work together to make a couple of large pizzas or each make your own individual pies. Either way, using pre-made whole wheat pizza dough as your canvas can be so much fun, easy, and totally delicious. Click here for more awesome pizza recipes.

 

 

 

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Cook For Your LIFE will be leading a scrumptious cooking demonstration at the YSC Summit next month, the only national conference for young women affected by breast cancer. They’ll focus on nutrition as well as demonstrating some of their favorite simple recipes. Getting in the kitchen doesn’t have to be complicated and they’ll prove it to you!

For more information on Cook For Your LIFE visit their website www.cfyl.org or learn more on their about page.

 

 

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Your Best Lover is…YOU!

light heartIt’s February and the subject is love.  We’re awash in Hallmark moments about romance, hearts and flowers and little candy kisses with sweet messages. Let’s take a deeper look at love, at self-love.

The truth is that love begins and ends with your relationship with yourself. You are your primary partner and you are your lifetime lover. How you feel about you determines how you receive and give love. Sometimes we think that we’ll love ourselves when we know others love us. If we don’t feel loved, it’s easy to think that we’re unlovable and that only love from others can fill that emptiness. This is backwards. How we feel about ourselves is what we transmit to the world. When you are in love with you and loving you, you radiate love and it’s irresistible. You are irresistible.

For the month of February, my invitation is to love yourself fully, to believe that you are adorable, lovable, sexy and irresistible. Imagine what your life would be like if you felt totally loved all the time? This is the gift I’m inviting you to give to yourself. After all, who else knows you so well and knows how you want to receive love?

Each day this month, explore ways to love yourself. Open your heart to yourself the way you would to the one/s you love most. Be generous with your love because you deserve to be adored. Remember what it feels like to be in love and all you can think about is your sweetie? Bring that attitude and energy to you. At first this may feel silly or awkward. But stick with it and be creative, and you may find a surprise at the end of the month.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Write yourself a love letter. Tell yourself all the things you appreciate and love about yourself. Write it on beautiful stationery or a card and mail it. Hint: you can do this more than once and perhaps you’ll send you a Valentine.

 – Take yourself out on a date. Dress up so that you feel beautiful and go out for coffee, a movie, dinner or for a walk in a beautiful place.

 – Meditate on love. What does love mean to you? How do you know when you are loved? How can you be more loving with yourself? Open to receive what comes to you as you sit and contemplate these questions and any others that inspire you.

 – Buy yourself some gorgeous flowers, or send them to yourself. Include a love note with the flowers and when you look at them, remember how much you love yourself.

 – Each time you see your face in a mirror, look into your eyes and say, “I love you” out loud. Say it like you mean it.

 – Stroke yourself from head to toe with tenderness and love.

 – Keep a love journal. Write daily about your exploration for that day ~ what you did, how it felt and what you’re learning about loving yourself. Keep the journal in a special place and read it often to remind you of your love for yourself.

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small logoAbout Barbara Musser

Barbara, founder and CEO of Sexy After Cancer, is the author of Sexy After Cancer ~ Meeting Your Inner Aphrodite on the Breast Cancer Journey. A 26-year breast cancer survivor, speaker and educator, she teaches classes and retreats for women and couples about cancer, love, intimacy and sexuality.

 

Barbara will be speaking at the YSC Summit on Saturday during General Session 1 on Sex and Intimacy along with other experts. To learn more about this session and others, visit summit.youngsurvival.org/Sessions.

 

 

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Heart Health & You: Before, During & After Treatment

go-red-american-heart-associationFebruary is Heart Disease Awareness Month and today is “Go Red Day” where everyone wears red to raise awareness of heart disease and donate to “Go Red for Women,” which supports educational programming on heart disease.

 

Why should we, as breast cancer patients or survivors, worry about our heart?
Well, unfortunately there are lots of reasons. First, some of the treatments and chemotherapies we may have taken can cause heart damage. These include (among others) Adriamycin, Herceptin and radiation on the left side of the body. In addition, if you were premenopausal before treatment and become postmenopausal during or after, that can also affect your heart. The risk of heart disease increases in postmenopausal women, with the decline of estrogen levels possibly playing a role.

What Can You Do to be Proactive?
If you’re in active treatment that could possibly damage your heart, your doctor will likely check your heart function to ensure that there are no problems. This can include an EKG or MUGA scan. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctors about how certain treatments may impact the rest of your body, including your heart. This is especially important if you already have heart problems or a family history of heart disease.

shutterstock_111914588If your treatment is complete, what can you do to take care of your heart? First, it is very important that all your physicians, including your family or primary care physician, be aware of your complete medical history including your breast cancer treatments. This way, they can be aware of what potential medical issues to monitor including your heart. Second, take care of yourself and your heart. If you are smoking, stop. Maintain a healthy diet, keep a check on your blood pressure and cholesterol, exercise and take steps to reduce stress.

What are Signs and Symptoms of Heart Problems?
These can include puffiness in hands and feet (due to retaining of fluid), dizziness or weakness, shortness of breath, coughing, and racing or irregular heartbeat. If you ever have any concerns or think you may be having a heart attack, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

Taking charge of your health is one way to be empowered while dealing with the challenges of a breast cancer diagnosis. And remember – YOU are your own best health advocate!

For more information on heart health, visit:

BeastCancer.org – Heart Problems

TheBreastCareSite.com – Take Heart, Be Smart: Before, During & After Treatment

GoRedForWomen.org – National Wear Red Day, 2/5/16

Heart.org – Menopause and Heart Disease

 

 

 

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Categories: Taking my Body Back

Takeaways from 2015 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

SABCS Logo

Each December, several YSC staff members travel to San Antonio, Texas, for the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS).
We interviewed Michelle Esser, YSC’s Senior Program Manager for Research and Advocacy, about why YSC makes it a priority to attend this conference.

 

Why is SABCS such aimportant conference to attend?

SABCS is the world’s largest conference devoted exclusively to breast cancer. The conference focuses on research news and updates – including promising new potential treatments, less invasive or toxic treatments, managing side effects, etc. It is important for YSC to learn about updates that we should share with our constituents, and to remind doctors that breast cancer does affect young women.

What does YSC do there?

We divide and conquer! YSC typically has a space in the exhibit hall where staff shares information about our services and resources. Other staff  meet in-person with physicians, pharmaceutical companies, researchers, and partner nonprofits. We also have staff who attend the educational sessions, and YSC often displays posters that share our work and survey data.

Why did you record videos at the meeting?

At 2014’s SABCS, I knew that the results of the SOFT/TEXT trials (which examined whether ovarian suppression should be used in young women diagnosed with breast cancer) were being released at SABCS and that this information could change recommendations for young women with hormone-receptor positive breast cancer. I wanted to share this information as soon as it was available, so I proposed a “reporting live from San Antonio” video. The idea expanded and we also interviewed advocates, researchers, etc.  Much to our delight, the videos were well-received.  At times, we are literally walking up to a researcher/doctor and asking them on-the-spot to discuss their research. This year, I was fortunate to have YSC RISE Legacy advocate Tracy Leduc working with me to create these videos.

Dr. Sylvia Adams

Dr. Sylvia Adams

Any surprises at the meeting?

Yes! Tracy and I attended an early-morning poster session and noticed a large crowd jostling to get a look at one of the posters. When we were finally close enough to see what was going on, we saw that the poster was about a potential new treatment for metastatic triple negative breast cancer. Since triple negative breast cancer disproportionately affects young women, we were very excited to see the results and learn of a Phase III clinical trial now enrolling. We are grateful Dr. Sylvia Adams took the time to speak with us.

Any disappointments?

Yes. I was disappointed that there were only a couple presentations in the general session that focused on young or premenopausal women.  And one headline-making presentation, “Chemotherapy Showed No Benefit Against Luminal A Breast Tumors,“ was based on older data that examined chemotherapy regimens not used today. So, while it is good information to know and discuss with your physician, I don’t know how much it will truly change practice. There were a significant number of posters pertinent to young women, but it would have been great to see at least some of these posters discussed in the general sessions.

Can survivors and advocates attend?

Yes. There are reduced registration prices for advocates and the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF) hosts nightly “Mentor Hot Topic” sessions, where doctors summarize the biggest news of the day. In addition, ABCF offers scholarships for advocates to attend SABCS. Applications and criteria can be found here. That said, this is a scientific meeting. Some background knowledge on the science of breast cancer is helpful (and required for the Alamo scholarship).

A favorite session to attend?

One of my favorites is the case study panels. There are two sessions in which physicians discuss their “tough” cases and seek input from a panel of prestigious doctors. The panel also includes one advocate to represent the patient perspective. (I sat on the panel in 2013 and I can tell you it is not an easy job!) The panel I attended this year included advocate Christine Benjamin of SHARE. She did an awesome job and provided one of my meeting highlights: One of the doctors said that a patient had “failed” the medication. Advocates in the audience groaned and Christine quickly stepped in with a gentle reminder that patients don’t “fail;” it is the medication that fails. Another interesting aspect of this session was that I would estimate 80% of the cases discussed pertained to young women. Check out our interview with Christine here.

Christine Benjamin of SHARE

Christine Benjamin of SHARE speaking with YSC RISE Legacy advocate Tracy Leduc

What is your biggest takeaway from the meeting?

Hope. There are a lot of super-smart, passionate people working on finding ways to better treat and hopefully cure breast cancer. Is the system perfect and is it moving as quickly as we would like? No. But, there is an energy at this meeting that is contagious and lot of physicians who care deeply for their patients. That gives me hope for the future.

You can find all of the video updates from the 2015 SABCS here. A few of our favorites include Lisa Rezende discussing XRAYS Initiative, Dr. Matthew Goetz of the Mayo Clinic speaking with us about endocrine therapy, and Dr. Olivia Pagani on the POSITIVE Trial, which is recruiting women in early stages of breast cancer who want to stop endocrine treatment to become pregnant.

 

 

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Get to Know Your Inner Creative Goddess

Yep, she’s in there and it’s time for a re-introduction…

Expressive ArtsA breast cancer diagnosis often creates a mix of emotions for the person diagnosed with cancer and co-survivors. Those emotions can feel hard to talk about and at times, it can be difficult to even figure how what you are feeling. One proven way to cope after a breast cancer diagnosis is through the use of expressive arts, which can include visual, dance/movement, music, drama/theater, and writing/poetry. Unlike traditional art making, in expressive arts, the process of creation is emphasized, not the final product.

Expressive, or creative arts, can be a way to tap into your feelings and offers a way to express yourself, to pass time while waiting for a medical visit or to help you combat scanxiety. Getting creative or crafty is an opportunity for you to connect with yourself, enjoy some quiet time and may even help you discover new parts of yourself.

Research proven benefits of expressive arts:

 – Greater connections to self-understanding

 – Increased relaxation

 – Pain reduction

 – Alleviation of stress and anxiety

 – Distraction from the medical environment

 – Can help individuals to communicate emotions that may be difficult to verbally articulate

 – Patients feel more empowered, hopeful, and resilient throughout the process of cancer care

 

Everyone is creative – yes, even you!
Step 1: Repeat after me, “I am creative.”
Step 2: Breathe
Step 3: Get started. It doesn’t matter how you start or where you start, just start. Choose your creative medium and have fun!
Step 4: Repeat Step 1 and Step 2 as often as needed to keep you creating.

Take photos

Ideas:
Adult coloring books, create a collage on poster board, make your own gratitude box, take a photography walk-about in your town, make handmade cards, paint on canvas, dance to music or write a short story.

 

 

 

 

Tips:
 – Paint/Draw/Dance/Sing/Photograph as if you’ll burn it.Getting Artsy

 – Keep it Simple.

 – Don’t be afraid to get messy.

 – Take your creative supplies to medical appointments, or just keep them easily accessible so you can pull them out often.

 – Check your inner art critic at the door.

 – Get curious – What feels good? What feels fun? There is no right or wrong way to express yourself creatively.

 – Are there expressive arts opportunities in your area? Check out a local craft store for supplies, they may even have workshops, some of which may be free of charge.

 – Invite some friends to a Creativity Night. Ask each person to bring a few supplies and an open mind. Crank up music, share supplies and create away…

Hope this helps to inspire you!  Send us pictures or stories about your creative adventure to stories@youngsurvival.org.

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About Ali Schaffer, LCSW

Ali is the Program Manager of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer (VICC) Center Patient and Family Resource Center. In this role, she oversees the management of the Resource Center and collaborates with medical professionals and local and national organizations to plan and implement educational programs for people impacted by cancer.

Ali is hosting a wellness activity on Art as Expression at the upcoming YSC Summit.
Join us in Atlanta, GA on March 11 to 13 for her awesome workshop and other inspiring, informational sessions and workshops throughout the weekend. Register today.

 

 

 

 

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Remembering Diana Di Mare (1968-2016)

Diana enjoying her Tour de Pink journey.

Diana enjoying her Tour de Pink journey.

I find myself at a loss for words. YSC and the world has lost another courageous, kind and beautiful young woman. Diana Di Mare was one-of-a-kind. In recent days there have been hundreds of posts about her passing and so many recurring themes by all who mourn her loss–her smile, her fight, her positive attitude and her love of life that was felt by everyone in her presence.

Diana gave so much of herself to YSC and fellow young survivors in New Jersey as the chair of the Northern NJ Affiliate and as chair of the local In Living Pink events. She found opportunities in everything. It is no surprise Tour de Pink was another opportunity for greatness. She rode in Tour de Pink for seven years, often participating in multiple rides each year. She deepened relationships with those in her YSC family throughout each of the three-day journeys.

Diana understood the power of community and brought so many friends, family and colleagues into the YSC fold. She wanted everyone she interacted with to know about her journey, not because she wanted sympathy, but because she knew there were young women who needed each other. She knew there was action to be taken in the young adult breast cancer community. Diana connected people to each other and no one did it better. She will be sorely missed, and YSC is forever grateful that Diana chose us for so many years.

 

 

 

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YSC is creating the Next Generation of Young, Educated Breast Cancer Advocates

RISE-Logo-FlushLeft

 

 

 

This is big news….. YSC has just selected 10 exceptional women who will become the next generation of breast cancer advocates in the United States.

Everyone knows that YSC has been the voice for young women affected by breast cancer since its inception in 1998, but did you know that YSC has also led the way in advocacy for breast cancer in young women?

I believe that the interests of young women need to be represented in the nationwide conversation about breast cancer – at scientific conferences, legislative hearings and on research grants, among others.

I believe that YSC must ‘have a seat at the table’ in every breast cancer conversation in order to ensure that the unique voice of young women is being heard.

I also believe that YSC has the sole responsibility to create this next generation of advocates. No one else can do this…. It has to be us.

I am proud to announce that YSC has created a NEW exclusive program called
‘RISE’ – Respected Influencers through Science and Education. This program is for volunteer advocates that YSC will train in all aspects of breast cancer, including science, research, advocacy and policy…. so they can sit at those ‘tables’ and ensure the voice of young women is always being heard.

Each RISE advocate selected for the program will serve a three-year commitment. Every year, a new class of 10 new participants will be selected to participate in the program. YSC plans to graduate 40 leaders at the end of six years, resulting in a new generation of educated, smart, young women to join the scientific conversations that are happening between researches, doctors and the government.

Once trained, the RISE advocates will be qualified to speak knowledgeably and credibly on behalf of YSC and other young survivors. This is vitally important, because breast cancer in young women is not simply a disease diagnosed at a young age; it has biological characteristics and treatment concerns that differ from diagnosis in post-menopausal women.

Please join me in welcoming the very first YSC RISE class of 10 advocates!!!

RISE Advocates 1

RISE Advocates 2

RISE Advocates 3

 

 

 

Read their bios and learn more about the Rise program.

 

 

 

 

 

YSC is an organization that changes the lives of young women diagnosed with breast cancer across the United States every day. And this is just another example of our leadership, dedication and commitment to young women who have been affected by this disease. #feelingproud

Did you know these facts about YSC and its history with advocacy?

 – YSC held its first Medical Research Symposium in 2001 and initiated research on breast cancer in young women through partnerships soon after.

 – In 2002, a Wall Street Journal article credited YSC as a major catalyst for changing the landscape of breast cancer research.

 – YSC has published numerous position papers on controversial topics, including the recent ACS Screening Guideline Updates.

 – After an exhaustive 18-month collaboration with advocates, leading researchers and clinicians, YSC released its “Research Agenda” in May 2014, listing the top research priorities. The agenda includes research priorities in the areas of metastasis, treatment, pregnancy and fertility, quality of life and survivorship, and risk factors. View the executive summary and recommended priorities at youngsurvival.org/research-agenda.

 

 

 

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Ready for a Moonshot to End Cancer

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden do a photo line at a Breast Cancer Awareness month reception, in the library at the Naval Observatory Residence, in Washington, D.C., October 24, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

YSC CEO Jennifer Merschdorf and former YSC President of the Board Lisa Frank with Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden at their home in 2012.

It is not every day that the President of the United States says he wants to end cancer once and for all.

And it is certainly not every day that the President talks about ending cancer at a State of the Union address.

But it actually happened this week, and the President clearly appointed the right man, Vice President Joe Biden.

I loved what Judy Salerno, CEO of Komen stated about this news in the Huffington Post: “President Obama’s announcement of a cancer “Moonshot” – with Vice President Joe Biden at the controls – is sending positive shock-waves through the cancer community today. It is the right initiative, at the right time, with the right leader – and a test of our collective will to confront a disease that affects every American, directly or indirectly, over the course of our lifetimes.”

She is totally right. It is the right time and he is the right leader.

However as a member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC), I feel it is important to remind us that NBCC has been calling for this bold action for some time now with its 2020Deadline campaign. Maybe now with this united national movement under Biden’s leadership it will actually happen!

OK – so what the heck is all this moonshot talk about anyway? According to Biden’s blog – this is what it actually means:

 – The Federal government will do everything it possibly can — through funding, targeted incentives, and increased private-sector coordination — to support research and enable progress.

 – We’ll encourage leading cancer centers to reach unprecedented levels of cooperation, so we can learn more about this terrible disease and how to stop it in its tracks.

 – Data and technology innovators can play a role in revolutionizing how medical and research data is shared and used to reach new breakthroughs.

 – We will help the oncology community improve communication with doctors across the United States and around the world, so the same care provided to patients at the world’s best cancer centers is available to everyone who needs it.

 – And we will ensure that the patient community is heard — so patients and their families are treated as partners in care, with access to their own data and the opportunity to contribute to research.

Giant #hellacool high five to Biden from me. Especially the part about the voices of the patient community being heard…. Yes!

While most of the cancer community is celebrating the commitment from the government, there are a few concerned voices out there. Take the article published by Time Magazine Why Curing Cancer Is Not a ‘Moonshot’ – where they state: “There is nothing wrong with calling for a national commitment to do something that’s very hard and, often, very expensive ….. Obama—and Nixon before him—deserve credit for throwing down that challenge flag against cancer. But this moon is actually many moons. Expecting a single, final victory will only make us fail to notice the smaller, more incremental ones when they come.”

While people debate if curing cancer is possible or not, YSC will continue to focus on supporting the one quarter million young women in the United States who were diagnosed before their 41st birthday – that is our job.

However, between you and me, there is nothing that would make me happier than for YSC to go out of business because there was no more cancer.

So Vice President Biden, YSC commends, applauds and fully supports you and your work…. and God Speed.

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TAKE ACTION!

Vice President Biden has asked to hear from those impacted by cancer. We encourage you to share your stories with him and include this paragraph at the beginning:

Young women can and do get breast cancer. This year, nearly 13,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer before their 41st birthday. And more than 1,000 women under age 40 will die from breast cancer. These women leave behind young children, family and friends to face life without them. I volunteer for Young Survival Coalition (YSC), which is dedicated to supporting and advocating for young women affected by breast cancer. I have had to say goodbye to too many friends. It is time to find a way to prevent cancer from developing and prevent it from spreading in those who have already been diagnosed.

 

 

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Mountains, Trees and Little Green Peas

Here is some great advice on starting the new year right- thanks to Dacia Breeden, RD who is a featured speaker at YSC’s upcoming Regional Symposium in Jackson, MS. Join us in Jackson on January 23 for her awesome session on nutrition after a breast cancer diagnosis, an interactive cooking demo and a day filled with education and connection! Register today.

When I was a kid, one of the most common vegetables my mom cooked was green peas. I was NOT a fan. I would sometimes move all my little green peas around, trying to hide them under my mashed potatoes, hoping my mom would believe I ate them or at least some of them, so I could have my chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Of course, she would discover my little green pea tricks and then encourage me by saying, “just taste and see…you never know, you might actually like them!”

Sometimes, I still feel like that little kid, preferring my chocolate chip cookies to my green peas. I always remember something my mom did, though, which has helped me to choose the healthy foods first. See, as a young child, I loved drawing; especially landscapes with mountains and trees and a pretty sunset. One night during supper, when I was trying to rearrange my green peas again, Mom looked at me with a smile and told me something I’ll never forget. “Those are not really green peas,” she whispered. “They’re actually little green trees that would love to sit on the peak of your mountain of mashed potatoes. And look here! We can add a little sunset!” she smiled with her arm reached over, as she dropped a dollop of butter onto those tall fluffy mountains. And so it was accomplished…the moment I began to love those little green peas. In fact, I no longer wanted to eat my potatoes without my little green trees! She had used my love of art to help me see food in a different light, like a canvas, if you will.

Little Green Trees

My little green trees on my mountain.

A change in perspective, a change in the way I saw my food is what I experienced that day so long ago. I think that is what often times is required of us when we are trying to make a change, any change; but especially, when it comes to the food choices we make. We just need a reminder of what food was really designed to be. See, most of the time, we are making food choices solely based on our taste preferences, but when faced with a health crisis we must shift our perspective to a different facet of food, the beautiful healing power that it can provide to our bodies.

So I end with one question for you to ask yourself before taking that next bite, “Is this food giving to or taking away from my fight with cancer?” I would dare to say we’d all take a second helping of those little green trees. Wouldn’t you?

Just taste and see! Here are 5 cancer fighting foods to try for the New Year.

Blueberries: Add to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, muffins or pancakes.

– Broccoli Sprouts: Add to sandwiches, salads, or soups.

– Mushrooms: Add to salads, scrambled eggs, stews, or stir-fries.

– Pomegranates: Add as a garnish for salads.  Add the juice to smoothies or iced tea.

– Walnuts: Toss them into a salad. Add to your favorite baking recipe.

For more healthy cooking ideas, visit CookForYourLife.org.

 

 

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