I was hired in December, 2000, the eve of BCAM’s tenth anniversary, for the position of “Administrative Secretary.” I was immediately impressed with the initiative and creativity of BCAM volunteers. Board member Susan Hertzberg had achieved a coup in convincing a large media company to show an animated message “Cancer du Sein Pourquoi?” visible to commuters on billboards above three highways. Artist Deena Dlusy-Apel created a vending machine dispensing whimsical hand-sewn breast effigies illustrating that one in nine women experienced breast cancer.
Potential board members were warned, “It’s a working board.” President Rose Alper’s mantra, “How can we put forth our best energy to stop cancer before it starts?” stimulated a flow of initiatives. The yearly Lanie Melamed Memorial Lecture was born, and its first speaker was Barbara Brenner, executive director of Breast Cancer Action (San Francisco). An annual march took place on Monkland Avenue under the banner “Prevention is the Cure / Prévenir, c’est guérir.” Board member Carol Secter dreamed of a rally with greater scope and obtained permission to march from McGill’s Roddick Gates.
Chris Kupka’s team created an annual workshop focusing on toxins in the environment in order to involve BCAM’s members in our mission
Writer and editor Janine O’Leary Cobb joined the board bringing her experience of writing about women’s medical issues. She articulated BCAM’s emphasis on prevention on a variety of platforms for different audiences —The BCAM Bulletin, which she edited; the fledgling website WWW. BCAM.QC.CA / WWW.ACSM.QC.CA; a booklet on the history of the organization, Breast Cancer Action Montreal: The First Decade / Action cancer du Sein Montréal: La Première décennie; and the PowerPoint presentation Breast Cancer as We See It / Le cancer du sein –tel que nous le voyons, which became the script for the new speaker’s bureau.
It was indeed a working board. Thank you, Avis, Terrye, Rose, Janine, Chris, Deena, Carol, Carole, Susan, Donna, Elana, Laura, and Diana – all of us inspired by the enthusiasm of the late Lanie Melamed.
Maychai Brown, former board and newsletter committee member, long-time member and supporter of BCAQc