From the Desk of the Executive Director
A Fresh New Year
As we turn the page on the New Year, we celebrate the arrival of a big year for us at the Coalition. We turn TWENTY-FIVE!
I imagine it was an exciting day when the founders of the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester received their letter from the IRS stating that their application for the formation of their nonprofit had been approved. When they gathered around the table for their first Board of Director’s meeting in January of 1998, there may have even been champagne. They had a mighty vision that included a balance of our four pillars: Advocacy, Education, Research, and Support. One thing is certain:
They were ready to change the conversation about breast cancer.
Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer was a powerful motivator to get to work and make the necessary changes in how we talk about the disease. We were ready to roll up our sleeves and focus on the “What now?”
What now, indeed.
Twenty-five years later, here we are. We can look back at all we have accomplished together – and the timeline on page 4 illustrates the greatest milestones – or we can forge ahead with the usual determination of survivor-advocates without a lot of time to bask in the glory of our silver jubilee.
We look forward to this new year knowing we have already made important changes. Diversity, equity, and inclusion have been foremost among our goals as we develop new programs at the Coalition. New programs require a deep commitment, as well as the necessary funding. We are grateful to the EnPro Foundation for awarding a grant that will allow us to develop programming specific to our Women of Color. We have been granted funds by the Saunders Foundation to develop a program that helps us integrate our gynecologic cancer survivors in a bolder, more meaningful way. And once again, the Marilyn Lichtman Foundation has committed to help ensure our future with the Emerging Leaders Program. This program offers historical context for our young survivor-advocates and provides training focused on advocacy and research. These are critical for our young survivors as they prepare to take the reins from our experienced leaders.
Finally, though there was a lot of attachment to the name of our annual Pink Ribbon Walk and Run, we begin our 25th year with a name change. The Pink & Teal Challenge is more appropriate to the part of our mission that compels us to cultivate community among those touched by breast or gynecologic cancer and to empower informed decision-making through education, support, and advocacy.
A fresh new year… a fresh page… fresh ideas… and plenty of gumption. We hope you’ll join us!
Holly M. Anderson, Executive Director