Right After My First Surgery, I Wanted to Become an NBCC Advocate

By Ann Fonfa

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was lucky that it was in early 1993. I say that because 1993 was the very first year that NBCC held its Annual Advocacy Training Conference (now the NBCC Annual Advocate Summit).  I wanted to be an advocate beginning a week after my first surgery, and this gave me a grand opportunity.

By May of that year, I had already found and formulated my interest in natural cancer strategies, combining that with my strong ability to network (pushy New Yorker really), making that first conference unforgettable for me.

I loved the workshops, loved meeting so many amazing strong women and men.  I envied those who had been among the founders.  And I found out how to understand evidence— such an important piece of advocacy—and about media, lobbying, and issues of the day.  Always so many issues, so little time.

Those early years I traveled to the conference on the SHARE bus, and occasionally by Amtrak.  Moving to Florida, meant hanging with new friends, but saying hello to old friends, handing out information I thought everyone should have.  Once I started speaking at workshops, I encouraged folks to come and listen.

In 2004, I was “forced” to attend a family event on the very weekend I should have been with NBCC.  Filled with regret, I traveled to the family event and missed that meeting.  The next year people rushed up to greet me, worrying as we all do, that I had become ill in that year.

That’s the only conference I missed.  Getting breast cancer brought me to a club I wish no one else had to join, but I have met the most amazing women and men—many of whom continue to inspire me.

As Florida Field Coordinator and serving on the Summit on Primary Prevention of Breast Cancer, I work all year to bring NBCC’s ideas to our state.

It IS time to change the conversation, and I am pledging to do all I can.

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