LBBC Receives Leadership Sponsorship from Lilly for its Innovative Metastatic Breast Cancer Programs

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) announced today that Eli Lilly and Company is providing a Leadership level sponsorship to support its innovative metastatic breast cancer programs, in particular its Hear My Voice Metastatic Breast Cancer Outreach Program, which was created to address the educational and support needs of women and men living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC).

The sponsorship will allow LBBC to strengthen and increase the number of people trained and reached by the Hear My Voice Metastatic Outreach Program in 2017 while also allowing the organization to create an Alumni Program. In the first two years of the program, over 100,000 people were reached through the projects implemented by volunteers in 23 states. Volunteers will be trained at the annual Living Beyond Breast Cancer Thriving Together Conference on Metastatic Breast Cancer, which this year takes place April 28-30 in Philadelphia, PA, and LBBC’s annual fall conference that takes place Oct. 6-8 in Memphis, TN.

“LBBC is grateful to Lilly for recognizing the significant impact our program is having on women and men living with metastatic breast cancer,” said Jean Sachs, MSS, MLSP, CEO of LBBC. “It is very powerful to watch the Hear My Voice volunteers speaking up about the reality of their lives and educating the press, elected officials and the public about what it is like to live with this disease. The volunteers are making an impact across the country– in small and rural communities to big cities and on Capitol Hill. Support at this level means we can accelerate the number of trainings and the day to day support so the volunteers can create and implement projects that have even a greater impact.”

The Hear My Voice Metastatic Breast Cancer Outreach Program, which was founded in 2015, is LBBC’s most recent innovative program for the metastatic community. The Hear My Voice program addresses the emotional, psychosocial and educational needs of MBC patients through its two major program components: peer support and outreach training. This curriculum provides the tools for volunteers to return to their home communities to educate the public and others about MBC, and to reach out to people with MBC and connect them to resources and supportive services. The 2015 and 2016 Hear My Voice Training sessions have been powerful examples of how creating a community of support empowers the work of individuals while addressing individual feelings of isolation, shame, stigma and distress.

To date, 56 volunteers have graduated from the program. After the training, volunteers are required to develop outreach activities in their home or digital communities. The following are a few examples of activities volunteers have led in their communities:

  • Holding an annual climb up Mt. Whitney in California to raise funds and awareness about MBC (2015 and 2016)
  • Launching a yoga class in a rural part of Oregon for people living with metastatic cancer (2015)
  • Speaking about metastatic breast cancer in communities large and small, to small nonprofit organizations as well as to Susan G. Komen affiliates (2015 and 2016)
  • Writing about how metastatic breast cancer has impacted their lives in newspapers and blogs (2015 and 2016)
  • Leading a “Walking Tall Together” program (a monthly walking program that provides a supportive network and connection to LBBC educational programs
  • Connecting people to peer support through the LBBC Helpline

Over 100,000 people have been reached by the Hear My Voice activities conducted by the volunteers. In addition, each class participates in a social media campaign designed to educate and connect the wider public to issues important to the class. In conjunction with the LBBC staff, the 2015 Hear My Voice class created the “#BeyondtheBreast” campaign that educated people that metastatic breast cancer happens when the cancer moves from the breast to other parts of the body, most commonly the bones, the lungs, liver or brain. The 2016 class created the “#Stage4Lifer” campaign that told personal stories of what it is like living with a disease that can be treated but not cured. Through blog posts, Instagram takeovers, tweets and Facebook postings, each of the Hear My Voice Social Media campaigns reached over 2 million people.

As part of the Leadership level of sponsorship, Lilly is supporting the Thriving Together Conference on Metastatic Breast Cancer, April 29-30 in Philadelphia and the Annual LBBC Fall Conference that takes place October 6-8, 2017 in Memphis, TN. This conference features special programming for people with early stage and metastatic breast cancer.

LBBC has a longstanding and deep commitment to serving the needs of women and men living with metastatic breast cancer. LBBC conducted the nation’s first needs assessment of women living with MBC in 2005 that resulted in the groundbreaking report, Silent Voices (2006), which revealed that those living with this disease felt isolated from the larger community, the early stage breast cancer community, and felt that the resources available to them were few and far between.

Those findings led LBBC to launch a robust set of educational programs tailored to the needs of those with MBC, the most recent of which is the Hear My Voice Outreach Volunteer Program.