A diagnosis of breast cancer is usually lifechanging, and although many organizations exist to raise money for research and provide support, some gaps still exist.
The Beyond Pink Foundation’s mission is to close some of those gaps.
Kristina Maher, who serves on the board of directors, spoke to the Waunakee Rotary Club about the organization and its initiatives at the virtual meeting Sept. 24.
A Waunakee resident for the past seven and half years, Kristina said the foundation was formed just about a year and a half ago as a way transform the breast cancer community with powerful programming that improves lives, shatters burdens, and empowers the fighter.
It was started by Michelle Hauser-Wallace of DeForest, who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, Kristina said.
Michelle noticed some needs weren’t being addressed by existing organizations. Kristina, as one of the founding board members, noted that she lost her mother to breast cancer and so is passionate about helping others.
Beyond the Pink works with the UW Carbone Cancer Center, as they are seeing patients get through their barriers.
In May of 2019, Beyond Pink delivered one of its first programs when it established a student leadership team in the DeForest School District. It had its first fundraiser last October called Gourds and Roses.
The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed everyone down, Kristina said, and now the group is using a virtual means to engage the community and build programs with five board leaders across the United States.
One of the programs is Beyond the Diagnosis, with peer-supporting-peer mentors providing guidance as those with breast cancer begin their journey. The UW Carbone Cancer Center partners built a curriculum with programs from oncologists and researchers to arm survivors with current up-to-date information.
“Every treatment is different, so they can be resources,” Kristina said. The peers are paired up to be resource when someone is diagnosed. The Warrior Supporting Warrior program is now virtual, and Kristina said she hopes to expand it to other cancer treatment centers.
Another program is Beyond the Status Quo and is mobilizing students through education and career exploration. The idea is to spark an interest in students not only in fundraisers but to become the next researchers and scientists. Scientists are invited to schools, and students are invited to research labs.
Another, Beyond the Borders, is meant to educate and empower with the latest research.
One program the foundation would like to add is Beyond the Barrier. Kristina noted it could help those with insurance barriers to different treatments such as cold cap therapy that keeps the scalp cold during chemotherapy to prevent hair loss.
She noted this “allows patients to keep their journey private.”
Young women who have been diagnosed also may need to consider fertility treatment and preservation, a costly option to ensure they can have children later on. These are not covered by insurance and are important for young women who have been diagnosed.
Kristina said she is looking for others to help spread awareness in the Beyond Pink Foundation. The foundation would like to partner with area businesses to help fund raise through dining events or to promote it on social media.
To learn more about it, visit beyondpinkfoundation.org. Also, if you shop Amazon, you can find the Beyond Pink Foundation on Amazon Smile.
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