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LIVING WITH BREAST CANCER

I Am Asking For Your Help

By Rethink Contributor October 2 2019

Some days change feels impossible. Actual change to entrenched systems engulfed by red tape feels impossible. Drug-approval processes, lack of research funding allocated to metastatic disease, clinical trial access and belief systems about breast cancer. Everywhere you look you see a system that needs to change.

Advocates often work independently or in small groups usually from outside these systems in hopes of making a change. But can you, on your own actually make change happen?  I have had some time now to see what moves the needle and what doesn’t. If I was to answer this question I would say yes, you can make real change, but not on your own. You need help. You need allies – a lot of allies. And what you can do is be the catalyst for change, the spark, the agitator, the disruptor, the educator; and it all makes a difference. Those sparks are the beginning of change. Changemakers take their cause and compel others to make it theirs. They realize that they need help and ask for it. They find an organization to partner with that can and will drive change because they have more people, more power and more presence to do it. They get real and vulnerable about why they are asking you for your help.

Carmen and Mom

If you see me asking for help, know that it’s when I am at my most broken from watching my mom suffer with this disease. It is in my darkest moments when I have to face the truth: that I am running out of time with her. That’s the moment I am asking for your help. The heartbreaking aftermath of moments like those is that I have to accept that none of this can help her anymore. So now I am asking for help for all those who will face the same obstacles tomorrow. I am asking you to enable me to help them too. I need to see real change and to know that the future will be better for others; even in the face of losing my mom.

Metastatic breast cancer is not just a problem for MBC patients, it is a problem for all of us. If you are an early-stage breast cancer patient you could be one stroke of bad luck away from an MBC diagnosis. If you are a woman, or you love one, chances are breast cancer will touch your life. You could be one symptom, one routine mammogram, one phone call away from MBC shattering your life as you know it.

When an MBC patient or advocate makes a request of some kind, like asking for a petition to be signed or letters to policymakers to be sent, they are asking because it truly matters and makes a difference. When we speak with our elected officials and those in power, we can say we have allies behind us. Lots of allies, who care if they make the proposed changes or not. Allies who will hold them accountable for helping to make the lives of metastatic breast cancer patients better and last longer. We may be fortunate enough to make these asks through Rethink or another organization. They may come in the form of brilliantly designed campaigns, graphics, engaging photos and hashtags all in the name of the cause. But when you see that campaign, that striking photo or memorable hashtag, I need you to see people at their most broken, asking for your help. And then I need you to act.

Women with MBC need you to be their Ally. Sign the pledge today.

 


MBC Advisory BoardCarmen Powell is a Non Profit Manager currently living in Brooks, Alberta. She is a wife and mom to little boys, living a full and busy life engaged in many community activities and organizations. Carmen is on Rethink’s MBC Advisory Board and is passionate aboutlending her skills and experience to change the landscape of MBC in Canada, as her mom is currently living with the disease since its recurrence in 2013.

Over the past five years, Carmen has been actively involved in advocacy and fundraising for MBC as project manager for the Pink Ribbon Project, an annual event dedicated to raising awareness and funds for MBC, as well as participating in advocacy efforts around drug access in Alberta and an advisory role on the Priority Setting Partnership for MBC headed up by Dr. Nancy Nixon at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary.