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YSC Advocates Arm Themselves with Knowledge at Project LEAD®

Last week, my colleague Cindy Kicinski, YSC South Regional Field Manager, and I had the honor of attending Project LEAD® hosted by the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). Project LEAD® is a scientific training program for breast cancer advocates. The six-day, intensive coursework prepares individuals to engage meaningfully in conversations about breast cancer advocacy, activism, research and public policy.

From July 21–26th, we camped out in beautiful La Jolla, California, to take part in this important venture. YSC colleagues told us beforehand “they’ll keep you well fed” and “you’ll feel like you’re back in school” (both true), but no one prepared us for the sheer amount of information and enthusiasm that we would experience in that week’s time.

Fifty dedicated advocates came from around the country and Canada and spent the days listening to experts, participating in study groups and reviewing a very large binder of reading material.

YSC Advocates at Project LEAD®
From left to right: Megan McCann, Senior Manager, National Programs; Mikala Edwards, Arizona State Leader & Phoenix F2F Leader; Loretta North, Kansas City Volunteer; Cindy Kicinski Regional Field Manager (South); Jen Linares, Illinois Sate Leader; Leslie Hammersmith, Champaign-Urbana F2F Member; T. Eatmon Atlanta F2F Member; Amber Gillespie, Houston Heights F2F Leader & TdP West Coast Rider; Erin Price-Schabert, Virginia State Leader, DC Metro F2F Leader & TdP East Coast Rider.

At the end, we took away a greater knowledge of how breast cancer happens, what existing regimens can target these pathways and what promising treatments are in the pipeline. With this information, we are all better equipped to take part in decision making around research, public policy and community activism, for example.

Throughout the week, we heard from NBCC team members, including President Fran Visco, who emphasized the role we could play in helping NBCC reach its Deadline 2020, a concrete goal to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020, through strategic research on the primary prevention of breast cancer and the prevention of metastases (the spread of breast cancer beyond the breast tissue). We encourage you to learn more about how you can support this important program.

We are so proud to be part of an illustrious group of Project LEAD® graduates, past and present, and were especially happy to share the experience with others close to YSC (see photo at right). It is truly a testament to YSC’s strong and dedicated community that so many advocates took a week out of their busy schedules to fight for the end of breast cancer.

Thank you so much to the Project LEAD® staff, faculty, mentors and fellow attendees who made this such a special and inspiring week!