Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.
It’s an honor to be recognized as a Champion of Change in the breast cancer community. I’m truly humbled to be in the company of so many other amazing advocates working to change the status quo for women affected by breast cancer. The September 27th roundtable discussion at the White House began in agreement that it is very important that everyone have access to quality healthcare. I am so proud of the work done by the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) and members of The Young Survival Coalition, (YSC)—one among many of NBCC’s grassroots member organizations—to support the Affordable Care Act. We look forward to the full implementation of that Act.
The roundtable also exchanged intriguing thoughts about how we truly measure success in breast cancer. Not all cancers are created equal. Some are slow growing and easily treatable. Others can appear suddenly in late stages, are very aggressive and not very responsive to current therapies. We are very good at screening for and diagnosing early stage, slow growing cancers, but how do we improve the status quo for women diagnosed with the more aggressive late stage disease?
The National Breast Cancer Coalition is asking everyone to engage in Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®. I ask you to put your face On the Clock to help us engage all stakeholders in ending this disease. Invite your friends and family to do the same. If we all come together to collaborate, we can end this disease. NBCC’s strategy to end breast cancer is available on the website, for you to further explore. It’s about focusing our resources and everyone’s talent in two specific areas: developing a method to prevent breast cancer before it begins and figuring out how to prevent metastasis to distant sites after a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. If we focus in these two areas, we can end this disease.
While it’s incredible to be celebrated in such a prestigious way among other accomplished colleagues, I find it bittersweet. I am very proud of co-founding The Young Survival Coalition and helping young women to find their voice in becoming a part of the solution to end breast cancer. I am also so proud of the work that I do with the National Breast Cancer Coalition. We work for funding for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program thus increasing federal funding by $2.68 billion since 1993. We have worked hard to help underserved women gain access to care. I find serving on the Integration Panel of the DOD BCRP and as a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Young Women and Breast Cancer are incredible opportunities. It is in memory of women as dedicated as I am who have lost their lives to breast cancer that I hesitate to celebrate being a champion until we end this disease, and so I ask you to go to www.BreastCancerDeadline2020.org to help us end breast cancer—once and for all.
Joy Simha, a 17 year breast cancer survivor, is one of the three Co-Founders of the Young Survival Coalition (YSC) an innovative and unique support network for young women affected by breast cancer.