On February 25, 2013, we lost another smart, funny, compassionate mother, advocate and my good friend to breast cancer too soon and too young.
Christine Brunswick was a dedicated breast cancer advocate who was there at the beginnings of the advocacy movement when the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) started. She was passionate, incredibly strategic in her approach to our cause, and an irreplaceable voice in the breast cancer community. She represented NBCC at various international conferences, including the 1995 UN Beijing Women’s Conference and spoke widely on the importance of advocate involvement in research. Her death, as with all the 108 women who die of breast cancer every day, reminds me that awareness is not enough.
When we lose a loved one to breast cancer, it is the end of a long saga filled with times of fear, pain, and suffering, as well as triumph if only temporary. There is collateral damage…scars both physical and psychological that last forever. It is not a journey that anyone chooses but one that is thrust upon them. The loss of Christine and many others is a reminder of the failure of the medical and research community. A failure of treatments that are at best imprecise, a failure of our understanding of what causes cancer and a failure to prevent breast cancer in the first place.
It is time for all of us to move beyond awareness to action. We have to change the conversation and bring urgency back to a disease with plenty of awareness. It’s time to get up, and get involved in research looking into the cause(s) and ways to prevent it. Sign up for the Army of Women and participate in research, become part of the Health of Women Study to find the cause(s) of breast cancer, and make a donation in honor and memory of Christine by supporting the NBCC Breast Cancer 2020 Deadline to end breast cancer. The time is now!