Dear supporter and friend of BCANS;
As you know, the landscape for organizations that support those with breast cancer, fund research to find a cure and / or provide education and awareness is ever changing.
BCANS was started in 1994 as one of the first support groups for Nova Scotians and a “voice for survivors”. The goals were to address the obstacles faced by patients, their families and friends, who were living with breast cancer—problems such as delayed diagnosis, inadequate information, social/psychological issues, poor communication with the health care team, and a lack of support. The work that has been completed has been amazing and everyone who has contributed to BCANS should be extremely proud of the accomplishments. But the work that we started back in 1994 has been picked up by others with access to more funds and specialized resources.
In March 2016, we saw the merger of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) and Willow Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support (Willow). Then in October 2016, it was announced that the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and CBCF will merge in order to have a greater impact on cancer research and support programs across Canada.
These changes required us at BCANS to assess our relevancy, impact and our future direction. We know that over the last number of years, despite raising operating funds with considerable effort, we are struggling to fulfil our mission and stated objectives to: heighten awareness of breast cancer as a major health issue; provide and promote support services that meet the unique needs to those affected by breast cancer; encourage more informed communication with the health care teams; provide and promote education about breast health; develop a support community of people affected by breast cancer.
Today, we are left with greater struggles to find sponsors and funders as those with deep pockets are contributing to bigger organizations and those bigger organizations are merging to be more cost effective. Additionally, the onslaught of online support groups and other internet resources has changed the “needs” of those impacted by breast cancer.
What we know is the work that we were doing, can be and is being done more effectively by others. So, it is with heavy hearts that we are confirming that BCANS will be officially ending operations by the end of October 2017. Of note over the last 12 months, funds raised for BCANS have:
- Advanced breast cancer research, namely the Marignani Discovery Research Laboratory, Dalhousie University;
- Facilitated the development of a social network for Canadians with metastatic breast cancer (coming soon);
- Implemented a reading / reference room at the IWK;
- Provided food, electricity and/or prosthesis for over 60 BCANS Cares applicants throughout Nova Scotia; and
- Secured the funding for the 20th annual retreat for survivors.
This work is good for Nova Scotia and we close our doors proud of what we have accomplished.