In 1996 Living Beyond Breast Cancer's volunteer leadership named Jean A. Sachs, MSS, MLSP, as the organization's first executive director (now chief executive officer). Since then, Jean has increased LBBC's budget from $100,000 to more than $3 million per year, allowing her to assemble a staff of dedicated and talented professionals who have dramatically expanded Living Beyond Breast Cancer's programs and services to a national level.
|What brought you specifically to breast cancer as a focus in your career?|
I'm often asked "Are you a breast cancer survivor?" or "Why do you do this?" I'm fortunate. I've never had breast cancer. But, my mom did - she also had uterine cancer and sadly we lost her in December, 2010 to lung cancer. So certainly, cancer has profoundly affected my family. I think I ended up here because I was always just passionate about women's health issues.
|Is that what drew you to LBBC as an organization?|
Living Beyond Breast Cancer is a good match for me. Sometimes, I think about how small we were then...how the words "living beyond breast cancer" were really more an idea than an organization. When I started there was a staff of one, a bunch of volunteers and we had a budget of about $100,000. But I felt sure from the start that the mission of LBBC would resonate with many.
|Is there a specific dream you have for LBBC?|
At the risk of sounding cliché, that one day there wouldn't be any cancer. But in a more realistic sense, immediate access upon diagnosis to the educational resources and support services provided by Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Since the beginning, this is has been our goal.
|What are the biggest challenges ahead for LBBC?|
Not everyone is an information-seeker. The information-seekers easily find us. But then there's that whole other group who listen to their doctor, may or may not be getting good care, may be waking up in the middle of the night or having terrible anxiety or all kinds of issues. Our resources are so deep. We're very, very committed to seeking out under-served women who have a hard time accessing the health-care system. So, to find these women, specifically, is a challenge.
Another challenge is one we share with all nonprofits - funding. Can we keep doing what we're doing, and can we raise the money so that we can increase the services we provide at little to no cost? So funding, as well. That's always a challenge.
To empower all women affected by breast cancer to live as long as possible with the best quality of life.
LBBC was founded in 1991 by radiation oncologist Marisa C. Weiss, MD, in response to a woman's need for breast-cancer-related information, connection and support after completing treatment. In their early years, Dr. Weiss ran LBBC out of the third floor of her home using volunteers. Few resources existed for women affected by breast cancer, and LBBC focused exclusively on the post-treatment experience. In 1996, Jean A. Sachs, MSS, MLSP, became Living Beyond Breast Cancer's first executive director (now chief executive officer). Ms. Sachs has increased LBBC's budget from $100,000 to more than $3 million per year, increased the size of the staff and expanded thier programs and services. Today, LBBC has expanded to assist women at all stages of diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Their mission includes offering specialized programs and services for the newly diagnosed, young women, women with advanced breast cancer, women at high risk for developing the disease, and African-American and Latina women. They also offer programs for caregivers and healthcare professionals to help them better meet the needs of women affected by breast cancer.
White House Black Market has been an active supporter of LBBC since 2004. Together with our customers our corporation has donated over $1,100,000 helping to bring support to more than 250,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer.
At White House Black Market, our passion is to make women feel beautiful, but our dream is a world without breast cancer...which is why Living Beyond Breast Cancer is so important to us.
And because nearly 290,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, LBBC's mission, to empower all women with breast cancer to live as long as possible with the best quality of life, is more important than ever.
Together with caring customers like you, our corporation has donated over $1,100,000, helping bring support to more than 250,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer.
Thank you for joining us on LBBC's 20th anniversary year, and for helping them continue making such an important difference to women everywhere.