Breast Cancer Network of Strength

Breast Cancer Network of Strength

The Breast Cancer Network of Strength (formerly known as Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, or Y-ME) [cite web|url=|title=Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization announces new name to mark 30th anniversary|work=Press release|publisher=Breast Cancer Network of Strength|format=PDF|date=2008-05-11|accessdate=2008-06-08] is a Chicago-based national nonprofit organization with the mission to ensure, through information, empowerment and peer support, that no one faces breast cancer alone. Y-ME does not raise money for research.

It has affiliates all throughout the United States, which provide peer support, educational programs, and coordinate advocacy efforts.

The organization was founded over a kitchen table in 1978 by Ann Marcou (1932–2004) and Mimi Kaplan (d. 1982), two breast cancer patients who sought to provide support for fellow breast cancer patients and their loved ones. From these humble beginnings, Y-ME transformed into a national organization that helped revolutionize the way breast cancer patients access information and make decisions about their healthcare. Nearly 30 years later, Y-ME is a premier resource for breast cancer information and services, all provided completely free of charge.

Y-ME’s newsletters, publications, brochures and Web site,, provide information and support to those touched by breast cancer in Spanish and English. Other Y-ME programs include a Match Programs for both patients who have similar diagnoses and life experiences, and for husbands and partners of women with breast cancer; the Wig & Prosthesis Bank for those with limited resources; the monthly ShareRing Network Teleconference; and A Day for You and Friends of Ann & Mimi, programs for the medically underserved.

Y-ME’s Advocacy program works to increase breast cancer research funding, support breast cancer related clinical studies and ensure quality health care for all. [cite web|url=|title=Y-Me Breast Cancer Hotline|date=2005-03-16|publisher=R News|accessdate=2008-06-08]

Each year on Mother’s Day, the organization holds the Y-ME Race to Empower in Chicago and Y-ME Walk to Empower events across the country. In 2006, nearly 40,000 people took part, raising a total of $6 million in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Miami, Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle, Tulsa and Washington, D.C. Eighty percent of each dollar raised benefits programs and services offered free of charge to those seeking information and support when facing breast cancer. Y-ME is further expanding its Mother’s Day tradition by adding Walk to Empower events in Atlanta, Cleveland and Phoenix in 2007. [cite web|url=|title=Join Us on Mother's Day|publisher=Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization|accessdate=2008-06-08]

Y-ME gained national attention through its efforts to educate women and medical authorities about the risks of silicon breast implants, leading a cadre of 11 major organizations including the American Cancer Society in asking the Food and Drug Administration for a review of implant safety. [cite web|url=|title= U.S. Set to Review Use of Silicone Gel In Breast Implants|work=Health|publisher=The New York Times|date=2003-10-10|accessdate=2008-06-08]

Y-ME's symbol is an inverted pink awareness ribbon (inverted because it forms the "Y" in Y-ME and because Y-ME is "where to turn when your world turns upside down" by a breast cancer diagnosis), and the organization partners with corporate sponsors to offer products displaying the ribbon or in pink. Corporate sponsors include McDonald's, Panera Bread and Walgreen's. The Olivia Newton-John album "Grace and Gratitude" was produced for exclusive sale in Walgreen's, with a free breast self-exam kit and a breast health supplement, to benefit Y-ME with 10% of revenue. [cite web|url=|title=Interview with Olivia Newton-John|publisher=CNN|work=transcripts|date=2006-10-06|accessdate=2008-06-08] Y-ME and Lifetime Television have partnered since 1994 with the joint "Stop Breast Cancer for Life Campaign" [cite web|url=|title=Stop Breast Cancer for Life|publisher=Lifetime Television|accessdate=2008-06-08] , held during October (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month).


External links

* [ Breast Cancer Network of Strength official website]
* [ Y-ME Mother's Day Events website]

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