Skip to main content

Metastatic Breast Cancer Advisory Board

The Metastatic Breast Cancer Advisory Board was created to help empower Canadians living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) by providing patient-focused insights on issues related to those affected by and concerned about MBC.

The Advisory Board brings together the lived experience and knowledge of women living with MCB, women who have had early-stage breast cancer, and caregivers. Members will help identify and inform Rethink’s annual priorities for MBC initiatives and also take an active role in helping to create and roll-out education, advocacy and support initiatives that support the unique needs of MBC patients.

Judit Saunders (Chair)

Two years after Judit was diagnosed and treated for locally advanced breast cancer at the age of 26, she learned her cancer had recurred and metastasized. In hopes of sharing her story, the former Registered Nurse at the Alberta Children’s Hospital launched a blog and public Facebook page, and quickly realized the sheer magnitude of how many people, from so many walks of life, were affected by this disease. This was the catalyst to her involvement with MBC advocacy.

As Judit learned more about the inequalities and disparities faced by those with MBC, her involvement grew to graduating from The Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s, Hear My Voice Advocacy training program and championing medical cannabis research. She was also involved with the Metastatic Breast Cancer Advocacy Canada, which was created with the hopes of trying to help to change the landscape of MBC for those living with it in Canada.

Having watched so many young friends pass away from this disease, Judit’s perspective on life and the definition of a successful life have changed dramatically. Judit strives to live life to the fullest, loves to travel (to hot climates of course), and enjoys simply being in the company of those she loves, along with the tight friendships she has forged with others who are also living with MBC.

Tasha Westerman (Chair)

Tasha is the Senior Vice President, People Services for Long View Systems, where she’s been helping over 1000 employees since 2002. She spends much of her free time advocating for young breast cancer patients through her volunteer work for Rethink Breast Cancer.

In November 2012, Tasha was named one of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 under 40 and in January of 2011, she was named by the Calgary Herald as one of their 20 people to watch out for. She is also featured in the Canadian Screen award winning documentary “About Her”, as one of nine young women sharing their unique cancer journey.

When she’s not busy working or bringing cancer to its knees, Tasha spends time with her husband, kids and family, who if you were to ask her, is the real reason she does all that she does.

Carmen Powell

Carmen 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. With 10 years of experience working at non-profit organizations, she brings expertise in staff and volunteer management, community outreach, program development, grant writing, and event planning.

Carmen is passionate about lending her skills and experience to change the landscape of metastatic breast cancer 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 metastatic breast cancer 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 Metastatic Breast Cancer headed up by Dr. Nancy Nixon at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary.

Carmen is an engaged and active ally who looks forward to working with the Rethink team and advisory board members to support and advocate for all those living with metastatic breast cancer.

Deborah Bridgman

Deborah Bridgman is five-time cancer survivor with stage 4 (Metastatic Breast Cancer) and single mom to two adult daughters. With a corporate career spanning 25 years, Deborah has also been a full-time volunteer with various organizations and committees for over 20 years. She’s chaired many fundraisers and has acted as Young Adult Advocate on various BoD’s, won the H&C – Distinguished Service Award for “Inspiration, Leadership and Outstanding Advocacy for young adults with cancer” and has been a keynote speaker for various events and media outlets, where she found her passion and voice to encourage, inspire and offer hope with her own story.

Deborah works hands on with other YA’s dealing with the struggles of a new diagnosis and living with the disease and aims to raise awareness by educating the general public about the complex issues and particular needs of young adults with cancer, as well as the intricate details of Metastatic cancer.

Deborah’s passion in life, other than martial arts (she has a second-degree black belt) is to share her story in hopes of helping others dealing with the devastation of living with cancer and to encourage other advanced cancer patients to LIVE with cancer, not DIE with cancer.

Laura Rice

Laura Rice is a Wife and Mother of 3 young girls as well as a Freelance Graphic Designer from Collingwood, Ontario. While navigating life after Triple Negative Breast Cancer treatment, Laura found purpose through supporting those diagnosed with cancer as well as those who like herself carry a genetic mutation that predisposes them to developing cancer. Laura currently volunteers for the Canadian Cancer Society as a Peer to Peer support facilitator and Co Run Director for the Blue Mountain/Collingwood CIBC Run for the Cure.

Nathalie Baudais

Nathalie Baudais was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2008, at the age of 29, and with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in 2011. Her treatments have included multiple surgeries, chemotherapy regimens and radiation therapies. She has the BRCA1 genetic mutation.

Nathalie is married and has one child. She works full-time and is involved with a variety of breast cancer charities: She is a board member for Saskatchewan Breast Cancer Connect; peer facilitator for Breast Cancer Support Saskatoon; organizing committee member for Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day – Saskatoon. Nathalie is excited to be a part of the MBC advisory board and to help improve the lives of those living with MBC.

Shannon McGinty

Shannon was working as a civil litigator in Calgary when her life, and career, were interrupted with a diagnosis of breast cancer at 34. A metastatic breast cancer (MBC) diagnosis the following year meant her plans to return to her career and life were not to be. Over the last four years, her priority has been travelling the world with her husband when her health, and doctor, permits, and finding meaningful ways to give back to her community.

She is excited to join Rethink’s MBC Advisory Board, bringing her advocacy skills and all the hard-earned knowledge that she has learned living with MBC.

Vesna Zic-Cote

Vesna’s career as a Registered Nurse was spent in Community Health, supporting people with physical disabilities to live as independently as possible in their own homes.

Initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, Vesna is now in active treatment for Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) since early 2017. She uses her strong voice on social media platforms to educate, support and fundraise for programs and initiatives that support those living with breast cancer, and more recently, MBC.

Vesna is a founding member of “Ottawa Monthly Gatherings” (O.M.G.), an Ottawa-based grassroots group of young women diagnosed with breast canner in their early adult years. Through her committee work with O.M.G., Vesna promotes peer support, education and community by helping to organize monthly face-to- face gatherings.

Vesna lives in Ottawa, Ontario with her supportive husband and beloved children. She also loves photography.

Amy Peasgood

Amy is a three-time cancer survivor and the mother of two young girls. She has been living with a de novo diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer (MBC) since early 2014. Amy graduated with a law degree from Dalhousie University in 2005, and had begun to establish a legal career in hospital research administration, when she received her devastating diagnosis. Shortly after that, genetic testing revealed that Amy has a genetic cancer predisposition syndrome called Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS).

At the beginning, living with incurable cancer silenced Amy’s voice because she was overcome with grief, but for several years now, she has found great meaning through her work with the MBC and LFS communities. Amy has reoriented in order to navigate life with metastatic breast cancer. She finds joy in writing, advocating and spending time with her family.