1. Pink Well Challenge Finalist Profile: Beyond Boobs!


    Beyond Boobs! Our “not your typical” health organization provides:

    1) Attention-getting breast health education to motivate all women to take the action to ensure early detection, and

    2) Grassroots peer support “systems” for young women diagnosed with breast cancer to meet their unique issues (young families, working during treatment, premature menopause, fertility, body image, dating, and feeling isolated by having a typically “older woman’s” disease).

    Employing humor, a Good Health Fairy, a breast health manual disguised as a calendar, quirky videos, and eye-catching retail therapy, we are saving lives by motivating women to action and helping young women get beyond breast cancer.

    Serving hundreds of young women diagnosed with breast cancer through four “Not Your Typical” support systems from Virginia Beach to Richmond that provide these women a community of “sisters” in which to share hope, experiences, tears, laughter, helpful suggestions, trips to doctors and chemo sessions, babysitting, wigs, and even their scars to relieve the fears of those facing surgery. Our monthly meetings in homes for “tea and talk,” connections to resources, uplifting retreats, “girls’ nights out,” and “hope totes,” lighten the load of young women battling this disease and help them thrive, not just survive.

    Because few resources exist to serve these young women and connect them with local peers who understand what they are experiencing, we want to start support systems in other localities so more can benefit from our unique brand of encouragement during treatment and beyond, when it is often needed even more. From the inquiries we receive, we know the need for this support is nationwide.  Four are starting in February. A by-product of these new locations will be the opportunity to get our “in your face” breast health message into new communities to motivate early detection and save lives.

    We will use the Pink Well funds to expand our support systems to localities across the country by finding and training local facilitators and producing our “Beyond Boobs! in a Box” kits that provide the materials and directions for the support systems and guidance on reaching out to the community for referrals, education opportunities, and spreading the word that this support exits. With Pink Well’s help, we will be able to fight breast cancer on a broader scale by caring for young women diagnosed with it and motivating early detection of this disease.

    Traci turned 29 in ICU. Told by her doctor “don’t worry, you’re ‘too young’ for breast cancer,” she was Stage 4 when eventually diagnosed. Through Beyond Boobs!, Traci met Lashon -- 26 and also Stage 4.  They became best friends – introduced by their shared ordeal, bonded because “We love to laugh and just have fun together.” Through their friendship, they overcame the isolation of being young with this disease. Until there’s a cure, we promote breast health action while creating the mechanism for young women to help each other really live, and forget about cancer, if only for a while.