Because So Little Had Changed This Breast Cancer Advocate Stepped Up
By Sarah Ford on April 1, 2014
When Gloria Wakefield was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, the experience was familiar. Not just because she had been diagnosed once before, 22 years earlier, but because so little had changed in how breast cancer was diagnosed and treated since her first diagnosis.
“We’ve been led to believe that there have been many improvements in survival rates,” said Gloria, “and that is just not the case.”
Though Gloria had been a supporter of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) for years, it wasn’t until last year that she took an active role as an advocate.
“After my second diagnosis I was prescribed Herceptin, and I learned about NBCC’s involvement in getting that drug to the market,” said Gloria, “That’s how I decided to attend the Advocate Leadership Summit in May 2013.”
After attending the Inaugural Advocate Leadership Summit in 2013, Gloria jumped into advocacy. She reached out to her friends and neighbors, who ultimately helped convince her district congressman, Ron DeStantis, to co-sponsor the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act. She also served as a consumer reviewer for the Department of Defense (DOD) Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP).
“Being a consumer reviewer was an awesome experience,” said Gloria, “Just to be able to sit there and be a part of that was incredible. And those scientists listened to what we had to say and took it to heart!”
Gloria plans on continuing to advocate for Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® in various ways. She says she will continue to get involved in research and to lobby for the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act. She hopes to attend Project LEAD® training and the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in the coming year. She also will continue to advocate for Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® online, a task that she said introduced her to Twitter, a platform that she now uses all the time.
But most importantly, Gloria wants to recruit other advocates. “The Advocate Leadership Summit was the best thing for me because that really opened my eyes and I was able to understand what advocacy was about and how I could play a part in that,” said Gloria, “It’s just a very rewarding experience. Advocacy has taken a very bad experience, having breast cancer, and turned it into a positive one.”
Our thanks to Gloria for sharing her inspiring experience with us. To learn more about NBCC, the progress they are making towards ending breast cancer, and ways you can help, click here to visit their website.
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