Ms. Magazine: Strength in Stories: The Transformative Power of Talking About Breast Cancer


Thank you to Ms. Magazine for publishing my article: “Strength in Stories: The Transformative Power of Talking About Breast Cancer.”

For the last quarter of a century, Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC), a national non-profit based in Philadelphia, has changed the narrative for women with breast cancer. The mission of the organization and its CEO, Jean Sachs, is that no woman feel alone or uninformed in her journey through diagnosis and treatment. The many channels of support have changed the story of over 600,000 people in LBBC’s community last year.

Jamil Rivers, Molly Weingart, Donna Noce Colaco, Susan S. Swanson and Jean Sachs at LBBC Butterfly Ball 2019

The annual Butterfly Ball is one of LBBC’s largest annual events, which raises much-needed funds to support their work providing those impacted by breast cancer with trusted information and a community of support. At this year’s event, the Donna Noce Colaco Going Beyond Award was presented to Jamil Rivers, Susan S. Swanson and Molly Weingart, all of whom shared their personal experience with breast cancer to help and inspire others. The crowd of over 500 left the room in awe of their strength.

Swanson talked frankly about her choice to participate in a phase one clinical trial. Knowing to ask about and consider participating in research can dramatically change the course of treatment for every person and patient who seeks care after them. New, better and more targeted solutions require ongoing trials and willing patients in order to discover how to end this battle against breast cancer—but only seven percent of research funding focuses on metastatic breast cancer, “the kind that kills you,” Swanson noted.

Weingart, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 34, shared that she “created art where before there had only been destruction,” and chose to have stunning flower tattoos cover her mastectomy surgery scars.

Rivers faced her own diagnosis after her husband survived cancer twice, and while caring for her three young sons. During chemotherapy, she kept working and was even promoted. She now advocates for others at a local and national political level to change the conversation about finding appropriate care.

The Founders Award, LBBC’s highest honor, was presented to Gerianne DiPiano for her visionary leadership as a pharmaceutical executive turned entrepreneur, and her incredible support of LBBC and the community. Her company, FemmePharma, changes the equation about research with a focus on women and has developed effective products to manage menopausal symptoms that improves quality of life.

The founder talked about how we need to pay it forward for women by women.

I recently lost my mentor to metastatic breast cancer, and I wish there had been more treatment choices for her. But until there is a cure for everyone, I take solace in knowing that LBBC will be offering love, support and information at critical times to the people who need it most.

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Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.6 million views. After three months on TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts, she had over 500,000 (1/2 million) views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2022 Finalist: Book Criticism 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers” Social Media Presence YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.6 million views) Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers) Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers) Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views) Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers) LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)

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