At BRA Day 2019, we will host a Decorate-a-Bra contest to commemorate BRA Day USA. Submit a decorated bra to our contest for a chance to win prizes and gift baskets from our donors. Bras will also be available to decorate on site to raise money for Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day and Force: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered, whose mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast, ovarian, and related cancers. Decorated bras will be displayed at the event, and guests will vote to choose the best bras.
The FORCE conference is a one-of-a-kind gathering that draws together survivors, previvors, family members, patient advocates, researchers, and health care providers from around the world who want to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast, ovarian, and related cancers.Read More
On October 17, 2019, Dr. Constance Chen, her staff and her patients, the BosomBuddies, will host a Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day event to educate the public about the latest breast reconstruction options, including fixing problems after unhappy reconstructions and restoring sensation to breasts after mastectomies.Read More
GOLDIE’S RETURN TO CABARET
DON’T TELL MAMMA
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
WALK THE RUNWAY
To commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Our Bodies, Ourselves, an international women’s health organization that distills health information to help women make informed decisions about their bodies, asked filmmaker Carol Ciancutti to make a short film about the choices women have for breast reconstruction after mastectomy. In response, Ms. Ciancutti interviewed Dr. Chen and a number of her patients, aka the "Bosom Buddies,” about their experiences with breast reconstruction to help guide other women who are trying to navigate the complicated world of women’s healthcare.
The result of this project is the following film, in which every woman has an important story to tell - whether she has undergone implant-based breast reconstruction and/or natural tissue breast reconstruction. We learn that it is essential for women to hear from other women so that each woman can examine all the reconstructive options available to her. Each woman should be empowered to make educated decisions about her own body, because there is no cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all solution for everybody.
a message from the filmmaker:
“Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes every October. Many of us have mothers, sisters, aunts, and friends that have been diagnosed this past year with breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. With that diagnosis comes many choices about treatment, mastectomy and options for breast reconstruction.
The organization, Our Bodies Ourselves (www.ourbodiesourselves.org), has been at the forefront of women’s health issues for over four decades. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, OBOS asked me to make a short film about the choices women have for reconstruction post mastectomy. It may be surprising to know that seven of out of ten women eligible for breast reconstruction are not being informed of all their options for reconstruction. Nor do many women know that as of 1998, the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act gives women the option to have any type of breast reconstruction they choose and their insurance company is required by this act to pay for it.
I hope this short piece can inform women of all the choices they have available to them, including no reconstruction. Informed Consent is key to being in charge of our health.
Many thanks to Our Bodies Ourselves, Dr. Constance Chen and her wonderful patients for making this project possible!
Your Body Your Rights, Producer/Director”
WHAT IS OUR BODIES, OURSELVES?
In 1970, a group of women in the Boston area self-published “Women and Their Bodies,” a 193-page booklet that dared to address sexuality and reproductive health, including abortion. They distributed it for 75 cents. A year later, they changed the title to “Our Bodies, Ourselves” — and changed the women’s health movement around the world. The U.S. book was updated continuously in print through 2011 and online until 2018, while global adaptions are still in development today. We invite you to learn more about OBOS’s influence, impact, and ongoing advocacy work.
Who are the Bosom Buddies?
For many years, Dr. Chen’s patients have asked for a way to give back to other women with and without breast cancer who are on a journey to restore their breasts and bodies. The #BosomBuddies are a sisterhood of Dr. Chen’s current and former patients committed to helping other patients make their way back to health.
The #BosomBuddies provide each other with emotional support, practical tips, shared stories, and other types of real life assistance to help all patients feel more comfortable and safe. We provide space for patients to periodically meet and discover new information about breast cancer and breast reconstruction treatments, share experiences, give back to the community, and just be present to support each other. In the process, we also manage to have a lot of fun!
WHAT IS THE FORCE CONFERENCE?
The FORCE conference is a one-of-a-kind gathering that draws together survivors, previvors, family members, patient advocates, researchers, and health care providers from around the world who want to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast, ovarian, and related cancers. Last year, we went to the FORCE conference for the first time with a group of our patients, the Bosom Buddies, and had an incredible weekend building friendships and lasting memories. While the main focus of FORCE is cancer genetics, not all of the Bosom Buddies who attend the meeting have hereditary cancer. That said, we have pretty extraordinary patients so the trip ends up being an amazing female-bonding experience for everybody!
ABOUT SHOW & TELL
One of the highlights of last year’s FORCE conference was a cocktail party Dr. Chen was invited to host as part of an evening event called Show & Tell. Four surgical practices from around the country were picked to host a private party for patients seeking breast reconstruction, and we were thrilled to be one of them. At the party, conference attendees (with the occasional supportive spouse) who were exploring their options for breast reconstruction had the opportunity to meet Dr Chen, her staff, and the Bosom Buddies. Thanks to one of the Bosom Buddies, Goldie, Smashbox Cosmetics provided makeup artists for mini-makeovers, an enormous Smashbox Cosmetics gift basket for raffle, and we had a selfie photo station and great swag bags. When planning the party, we wanted to celebrate women’s beauty and brains, and focus on empowering a woman to make her own decisions about her own body. Our message stood out. As a rare female-dominated practice in a male-dominated field, we made an outsized impact, and FORCE invited us to host a party again this year.
ABOUT WALK THE RUNWAY
Last year’s trip was one for the books and the party was exceptional thanks to the spirit and support of the magnificent Bosom Buddies. This year, the FORCE conference occurs around Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day, so for our party at FORCE we plan to do everything we did last year and build on it. During BRA Day 2017, we held a “Decorate-a-Bra” contest in which both amateur and professional artists designed and decorated fabulous and outlandish bras. For BRA Day 2018 at FORCE, we invite Bosom Buddies of all shapes, sizes, and ages to “Walk the Runway” in decorated bras for a moment of glory at our private event. Nobody has a perfect body, but some conference attendees at our party may really be struggling. If you feel that you have made it through surgery to the other side with the battle scars to prove it, you can inspire other women to have hope and confidence in themselves by showing that it’s possible to have fun and celebrate life after breast reconstruction.
PICKING YOUR BRA FOR WALK THE RUNWAY
Several Bosom Buddies have already selected a decorated bra they want to wear from the 2017 BRA Day event and others are planning to decorate their own bra or have someone decorate a bra for them. If you are interested but don’t feel like decorating your own bra, please let us know because there are artists on standby to decorate a custom bra for you as well as dozens of already decorated bras to choose from in our office. One of the Bosom Buddies from Florida, Gillian, has enthusiastically volunteered to rally the troops to “Walk the Runway”. If you want to be a part of the “Walk the Runway” committee, please contact Gillian by email at email@example.com. You can also contact Andrea in the office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
FLIGHTS, ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE
Our plan is to arrive by Thursday morning, October 18. If you are in San Diego on Thursday afternoon, we are looking into chartering a sailboat (since the hotel is in the marina) so that the Bosom Buddies can go sailing together before the Welcome Reception on Thursday night. Please let us know as soon as possible if you are interested in sailing because the number of sailors will definitely affect which sailboat we charter. The conference officially starts Friday morning and ends Saturday. We plan to fly back to New York on Sunday afternoon, October 21.
TRAVEL AND LODGING
For those interested in sharing a room with another Bosom Buddy, please let Andrea know and she will help coordinate. Until September 15, conference attendees get discounted rates of $199/night at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. Click here for additional information about travel and lodging.
Registration fees include breakfast, lunch, and admission to conference sessions, workshops and many after-hours events on Friday, October 19, and Saturday, October 20. Dr. Chen will be in a panel discussion on breast reconstruction on Saturday. Click here for registration information and conference agenda.