International Women’s Day falls on 8 March and has become a global event celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women. This year’s theme is ‘Inspiring Change,’ where the theme encourages advocacy for women’s advancement everywhere in every way.
Inspiring change in individuals can be achieved internationally thanks to communication channels, supportive spokespeople and equality research that can spread the word. The worldwide appeal of GE Healthcare’s Breast Cancer Mosaic initiative meant more individuals could take part in the Breast Cancer Mosaic Talks (#BCMTalks).
Users are encouraged to share their story on the website as a means to help and support others in a similar situation. As part of International Women’s day five remarkable women have been featured here as leaders in inspiring change for the better, demonstrating great strength in their fight against breast cancer.
Lockey Maisonneuve took center stage during her #BCMTalk. Her strength of mind shone through as she reminded listeners to practice ‘grace and dignity at all times. Be kind to yourself and be compassionate.’ Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, Lockey underwent chemotherapy, bi-lateral mastectomies and radiation. Her survival and attitude to life post-cancer is an example of her positive thinking and persistence in developing strength of body and mind.
Chris Matthews was another woman that motivated listeners to take the early detection of breast cancer more seriously. Her experiences of breast cancer made her an ideal advocate for a change in how it’s detected and treated.
“Getting breast cancer was a gift. I was compelled to share the experience. I pleaded with every woman I knew to get their annual mammogram. Early detection is the key to survival,” she said.
A memorable speaker was Nicole McLean, whose inspirational journey began soon after her 39th birthday. “The two year fight for my life was the toughest thing I’ve ever done,” she said. “I have been through chemotherapy, a mastectomy, breast reconstruction (TRAM flap), breast reduction, radiation, physical therapy for my lymphedema. It was a long road and the journey is just starting.”
As a #BCMTalks speaker, Debbie Woodbury also became an inspiration to women. Her amazing ability to recognize the gifts that breast cancer awarded her served as her pathway to emotional healing and balance. She was inspired to write a blog where she hoped cancer survivors would fine the motivation and reason to explore the gifts and losses of life beyond cancer.
As a breast cancer survivor and former #GetFit ambassador, Dr. Samia Al-Amoudi has encouraged women from all over the world to be informed about the disease and to get regular breast exams. In April 2006, she was diagnosed with breast cancer but decided to spearhead a breast cancer awareness campaign across Saudi Arabia. Her courage as a single mother in the Middle East have inspired countless women to change the way they think about the disease.
The next #BCMTalk takes place on Wednesday March 26, at 9.30pm GMT, 4.30pm EST, and 1.30pm PST so save this date for an opportunity to converse with Marie Ennis-O’Connor and share in her experiences having being diagnosed with breast cancer. Marie is an award-winning health blogger with a passionate interest in healthcare social media and patient advocacy. She is also a founding member and social media manager for Health2.0 Dublin, part of the Health2.0 international movement.