MBCC Board Member Estelle Disch Reaches Out

Dear MBCC Supporter,
In 1991, a group of women with cancer met at the Women’s Center in Cambridge and established the Women’s Community Cancer Project (WCCP). My late partner, Rita Arditti, was among them. They were an entirely volunteer organization and their focus was on cancer prevention. They wrote fact sheets about Black women and breast cancer, bovine growth hormone, and toxins in cosmetics, among others. I remember Rita spending hours in CVS with a magnifying glass, reading the ingredients on labels as she hunted down parabens and other dangerous chemicals in body care products. She did the same in friends’ medicine cabinets to alert them to danger. Eventually, members of WCCP branched off to join other co-founders of the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) to establish a non-profit organization that would allow a few employees to focus full-time on breast cancer education and prevention. Margo Golden, a member of WCCP and former President of the Board of MBCC, worked closely with Rita. Rita would be very proud of MBCC’s full-time focus on prevention, and if she were alive today, she’d likely be on MBCC’s board.  Having lived for over 30 years with metastatic breast cancer, Rita knew the devastation of the disease, in spite of her longevity.
In Rita’s memory and in honor of Margo Golden, I’m asking for your support. I know that this is a time when the support of organizations fighting for racial justice is essential and I hope that you are doing that. And I’m hoping you can support us too, with whatever size donation, to help us get through the COVID-19 crisis. Breast cancer affects all groups and is especially lethal to Black women so our causes overlap. Whatever the trajectory of this country’s struggle for racial justice and our coping with the pandemic, the cancer epidemic will continue into the foreseeable future and prevention is the most hopeful response. MBCC is focused on prevention full-time.
Here are some of MBCC’s projects and educational activities related to cancer prevention:
  • Webinars: These happen several times a year. Recently, Hope White, a member of MBCC’s board, led a discussion on “Disparities and Inequities in Breast Cancer Care” for Black Women. You can listen to the recording here, and the 2020 schedule can be viewed here.
  • Education for Cancer Prevention: Our Let’s Talk Prevention program educates the public about what we can each do to lower our cancer risk. There are online educational modules for high school, middle school, and elementary school students that can be done in the classroom or at home during the pandemic. These modules make students, teachers, and parents aware of practical, doable options (like get your cell phone out of your bed and toss your Teflon pans).
  • Advocating for Policy Change: MBCC is reaching out to educators and parents/caregivers to help encourage high school students across Massachusetts to contact their local representatives in support of legislation that would ban dangerous PFAS chemicals from food packaging across the state. MBCC will be actively monitoring the status of two bills in particular – S.1315 and H.3839 – which are geared towards removing these harmful toxins from food packaging. 
  • National Health Projects: MBCC is a community partner on three national health projects – Two funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the third funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Thanks for reading, and I invite you to check out and enjoy our resources. Click here to donate. Donations can also be mailed to Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, P.O. Box 202, Franklin, MA 02038.
Wishing You Good Health, Justice and Peace,
Estelle Disch
MBCC Board Member