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.
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Meet the Metastatic Breast Cancer Advisory Board
Tasha Westerman (Chair)
Tasha works as a Senior Vice President, People Services for Long View Systems, where she’s been helping their over 1200 employees since 2002. She spends much of her free time advocating for young breast cancer patients through her volunteer work for Rethink Breast Cancer. She has chaired Boobyball Calgary eight times and currently she is the Co-Chair of the MBC Advisory Board.
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 & family, who if you were to ask her, is the real reason she does all she does.
Nathalie Baudais (Chair)
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 an 11-year old son. She works full-time as a Senior Transportation Engineer for the City of Saskatoon. In addition to her commitment to Rethink’s MBC Advisory Board, she is involved with a variety of breast cancer charities: She is a peer facilitator for Breast Cancer Support Saskatoon; organizing committee member for Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day – Saskatoon; captain of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Saskatoon CIBC run for the cure team; and an advocate for patient involvement in cancer research. Nathalie is excited to take on the role of Co-Chair and continue to help improve the lives of those living with MBC.
Natalie St-Jacques-Farha is a Registered Nurse working as the Manager at the Centre for Innovative Education and Simulation in Nursing, at the School of Nursing, University of Ottawa. She has her master’s degree in education with a concentration in teaching to health professionals. She is a wife and a mom to three wonderful and busy kids (aged 6, 12 and 14). She is engaged in many community activities and organizations.
Natalie was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in February 2018 (HER 2+ and ER+) at the age of 38. She has undergone chemotherapy, many surgeries, radiation and antibody therapy.
Natalie is passionate and motivated about helping those living with breast cancer. With her nursing and education background and having gone through breast cancer herself, she hopes to use that expertise to advocate, educate and support those affected by breast cancer.
Initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, Diane DiCesare has been in active treatment for metastatic breast cancer since 2017. She was fortunate to be introduced to Rethink after her second diagnosis and attended Stretch Heal Grow, a life changing retreat where women experience healing through sharing, compassion and connection.
Diane is enthusiastic about her first term on the MBC Advisory Board and working with the Rethink team. She looks forward to helping elevate the lives of women living with MBC through education, advocacy and raising awareness.
Diane has two decades experience working at cancer centres and hospital research institutes as an administrator. She brings expertise in grant writing, fundraising, communications and event planning. She lives in Toronto with her husband and enjoys traveling, spending time in nature and getting creative in the kitchen.
Suzanne Horvath is a new and enthusiastic member of Rethink’s MBC Advisory Board. With a professional career in education, Suzanne brings over 20 years of experience as a teacher and later administrator in the public-school system.
In November 2016, Suzanne was diagnosed de novo with Metastatic Breast Cancer. She was fortunate to connect with Rethink and women like her through Stretch, Heal, Grow and online support. In October 2018, Suzanne and other women gathered at Queen’s Park to give voice to those with MBC and bring forth issues such as drug accessibility. She has also been working in the “Patient as Teacher” program at the University of Toronto sharing her experience with medical students to facilitate stronger healthcare patient support.
As a wife to Tony and mother to Sienna and Topher, Suzanne feels the greatest gift she has is the time she spends with them and members of her extended family.
Keturah Layne has a passion for giving back. Cancer has affected several close family members, most recently, her younger sister who was diagnosed with breast cancer. As the primary caregiver, she saw firsthand the toll cancer takes and was moved to find a way to contribute and align with an organization that supports women with cancer.
Over the past decade, Keturah has volunteered with numerous groups and organizations in the city of Toronto including World Vision Canada, Global Medic, One Walk, Women in Data Science Toronto, Toronto-SVG Support Group, Sancta Maria House. She hosts annual Christmas and back-to-school events to support children in the community where she grew up on the island of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Keturah brings a wealth of experience in project management, fundraising and advocacy.
Keturah currently lives in Toronto, Ontario and works full time as a Manager, Client Services and Project Management.
Margaret Loniewska joined the MBC Advisory Board in 2020 after being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer while pregnant in October 2019. Her daughter Marianna was born prematurely in January 2020 and spent 3 months in the NICU. Once Marianna was born, Margaret started a more targeted treatment for her triple positive breast cancer.
Margaret completed her doctorate degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and was working on a certificate in pharmaceutical regulatory affairs before her diagnosis. She hopes to finish her post-graduate studies as soon as she is able.
Margaret joined the MBC Advisory Board to help raise the profile of the MBC agenda, including more MBC research, access to treatment for MBC patients and ensure MBC continues to be an important part of the breast cancer conversation.
Margaret lives in Toronto, Canada with her supportive husband, daughter and rescue dog, Lucky.
Carmen Powell is passionate about leveraging her skills and experience to change the landscape of metastatic breast cancer in Canada, as she lost her Mom to the disease in September 2019. From Brooks, Alberta, Carmen brings over a decade of non-profit experience including staff and volunteer management, community outreach, program development, public relations, grant writing, and event planning.
Over the past six years, Carmen has been actively involved in advocacy and fundraising for MBC.
She was a founding member of Rethink’s MBC Advisory Board and the project manager for the Pink Ribbon Project. She has participated in advocacy efforts around drug access in Alberta and took an advisory role on the Priority Setting Partnership for Metastatic Breast Cancer led by Dr. Nancy Nixon at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary.
Vesna Zic-Côté became a patient advocate for people living with MBC upon her own diagnosis in 2017, after standard treatment for early stage breast cancer in 2012 proved to be ineffective. Prior to this second diagnosis, Vesna was a Registered Nurse working in Community Health for 19 years.
Vesna’s uses various platforms to educate, support and fundraise for the MBC community. She regularly contributes to Rethink’s work. She spoke at the 2018 MBC Advocacy Day at Queen’s Park and the 2019 Canadian Breast Cancer Symposium, offering the patient perspective to decision makers and healthcare professionals alike. Vesna is a founding member of OMG – Ottawa Monthly Gatherings, a collective of young(ish) women diagnosed with breast cancer and is one half of M.B.C. – Most.Beautiful.Collaboration, a collection of photos, stories, insights and observations into the lived experience of MBC.
Vesna finds joy in photography and gardening participating in her children’s activities. Her most cherished roles are as wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend.
Michelle Audoin happily wears the hats of wife and mom to two wonderful kids, home baker and doggy mama. She was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2017. Prior to her diagnosis, Michelle worked for almost 2 decades as a passionate educator in Toronto. She brings an equity lens to Rethink’s MBC Advisory Board.
Michelle has been involved in numerous advocacy and awareness campaigns for breast cancer and MBC. Specifically she’s participated in Rethink’s Queen’s Park Advocacy Day and MBC campaigns, was featured in the MCB Time 2020 video, and has written a blog for Rethink about being a young woman with MBC. Most recently, Michelle is proud to have partnered with Rethink in 2020 to create Uncovered: A Breast Recognition Project. This resource shares the stories and images of Black women and it shines a light on how women of colour often see their needs overlooked and underrepresented in the cancer care community.