Our New Vision and Mission


This morning, Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s CEO Jean Sachs released the following message to our friends and supporters:

Dear Friends:

All of us at Living Beyond Breast Cancer are excited to share our new vision and mission statements with you:

Our new vision

A world where no one impacted by breast cancer feels uninformed or alone.

Our new mission

To connect people with trusted breast cancer information and a community of support.

These new statements were developed with the help of over 1,200 of you who responded to a survey we sent out earlier this year. Your input was used in a day-long retreat with members of the board of directors and staff. We learned what LBBC services are valued most and why so many have come to depend on our educational programs and services that allow for connection to others diagnosed with breast cancer.

For me, these new statements say with clarity what we strive to do every day and what we hope to achieve over time. Yesterday, I spoke with a long-time friend who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  She was overwhelmed, scared and shocked. Our conversation and the resources I was able to put in her hands grounded her and provided her with enough comfort and confidence to take the next step.

This is what LBBC does every day, and it is exactly what the new vision and mission statements express.

I hope you share my enthusiasm and, as always, if you have comments I would love to hear from you.



Jean A. Sachs, MSS, MLSP

Chief Executive Officer


I Talk To Strangers, You Should Too!

randi rentz

Long time LBBC blog contributor, RANDI RENTZ, graduated with honors from The Johns Hopkins University with a Masters degree in Special Education. She was an editorial assistant for a publishing company in suburban Washington,DC before becoming a special education teacher in a school district outside Philadelphia, PA. Randi currently is an Asperger’s Support Teacher for grades kindergarten through fifth. Presently, Randi has her own consulting company for children on the Autistic Spectrum where you can see her work at   www.helpforaspergers.com. She is a proud member, supporter, and blogger for many breast cancer organizations and never leaves the house without diamonds. Visit Randi at her web site at www.randirentz.com. Be sure to check out the teaser for her upcoming book “Why Buy a Wig…When You Can Buy Diamonds!”


Call me crazy, but I look forward to waiting in line, and just about any opportunity to shoot the breeze with people I don’t know. I’m chummy with the guy who pumps my gas, (the only gas station nearby where they still pump gas for you), still exchange holiday cards with my 4th grade elementary school teacher, and the other day I spent a solid hour gabbing with an 81-year old woman I met at the tailor’s while having my pants hemmed.

I’m now a life-long, die-hard people person. I never used to be, though. In fact, I never enjoyed chatty encounters with people I didn’t know…until cancer. I wasn’t hostile before breast cancer.  Every day I had pleasant exchanges with strangers and acquaintances—an enthusiastic “Morning!” or a friendly “Have a great day!”  Such moments continue to be life-affirming, yet, prior to breast cancer, they were blessedly brief.

On-the-fly updates from people I’ve barely met used to drain me. Seriously.  I always felt obliged to respond with genuine emotion, to pay real attention. I would fake outrage or concern, with a performance that was definitely Oscar worthy. That meant stopping whatever I was doing, and force myself to focus. Since my laser-beam concentration was always sensed by the people stopping me, their details got longer and longer. Oy, vey! I felt trapped like a mouse in a maze.

Did breast cancer make me a people person? Well, I think it made me more aware of the little moments in life that make up the big moments. I now enjoy being a true people person—even though I’m inclined to dislike anyone who describes himself/herself this way. Go figure. I digress, sorry. Anyhoo, hear me out. Lifting your head and engaging with whoever happens to be standing next to you is worth the effort. It’s nice to see people smile and to genuinely smile back. It really feels good and refreshing. You should try it.

For one thing, you never know when you will receive priceless advice.  The 81-year-old cautioned me to get in good with my son’s future wife and to always take the dog out for an evening walk to do “its business.” Little did she know, I have no children and own two cats which use a litter-box. Needless to say, I felt it worthy to file away her words of wisdom. Maybe a stepson and a dog are in my future. Who knows? I digress. Sorry. When I left the fitting room, fiddling with the waistband of my pants, she said, “With posture like that, who needs Spanx? Coming from a stooped octogenarian, her words felt like a wake-up call to enjoy my youthful existence.

I believe my world is bigger with my random encounters. My brushes with strangers bring me the thrill of the unexpected, to glimpse a world I used to brush off and otherwise never see or appreciate. In the frenzy of life, with intense money, work and time pressure, I honestly didn’t have much conversational energy to spare.

Now, I think of it as a habit as “meeting new people,” even if I never see them again. My encounters with strangers bring me back to a place where I long to be. I never had grandparents, because they died before I was born.  But now I cherish chance meetings with people of all ages, especially older people. I find their perspective to be rather eye-opening.

Instead of rolling my eyes, I appreciate the interruption. I am so grateful for the little things in life. I now understand what being a warm person means.

And now, onto the Spanx…

LBBC Introduces New Guide To Understanding Breast Cancer

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Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) has announced the release of Hormonal Therapy, the newest title in this national nonprofit’s library of Guides to Understanding Breast Cancer. It joins nineteen other LBBC publications available in print and electronic formats designed to address the needs of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.


The guide provides insight and answers about the complexities of hormonal therapy, treatment that reduces estrogen in the body, for women with breast cancer. Hormonal therapy for breast cancer is sometimes referred to as endocrine or anti-estrogen therapy. Breast cancer hormonal therapy can reduce the risk of disease recurrence, prevent new breast cancers and improve survival. Approximately 70% of breast cancers are hormone-sensative¹ and many women are likely to receive hormonal therapy as adjuvant therapy – treatment given after primary therapy.


The Guide to Understanding Hormonal Therapy was co-authored by Janine E. Guglielmino, MA, LBBC’s director of publications and strategic initiatives, and medical writer Robin Warshaw.  “At Living Beyond Breast Cancer, we know women face many choices when it’s time to begin treatment for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer,” Guglielmino states. “This guide was developed to help women ask their providers informed questions about how hormonal therapies and their side effects may impact their day-to-day lives.  And since hormonal therapy lasts for many years, the guide aims to address the questions women have today – as well as those that may arise tomorrow – as those concerns may very well change over time.”


In addition to Guglielmino and Warshaw, a committee made up of more than a dozen oncology professionals, LBBC staff and women affected by breast cancer reviewed and contributed stories to the sixty-six page guide, which is divided into eight sections and written in clear and easy-to-understand language.  Section topics include hormonal therapy options, common questions about treatment decisions, coping with side effects, what to expect when treatment ends and additional resources.


The guide focuses on hormonal therapy for early-stage (ed. note – stage 0-II) or locally advanced (ed. note – stage III) hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. Hormonal therapy is also used to treat recurrent and metastatic (stage IV) hormone positive disease and to prevent first breast cancers in women at high risk for developing breast cancer.


“We believe women can play a powerful role in their treatment when they have the resources to help them make informed decisions and be full advocates for their own health,” say LBBC CEO Jean A. Sachs, MSS, MLSP. “In addition to this guide, LBBC has additional resources at lbbc.org.”


Free, individual copies of the Guide to Understanding Hormonal Therapy are available online or by calling (610) 645-4567. Larger quantities may be ordered for a small shipping and handling fee.


¹National Cancer Institute

Tamra Barney: Wines by Wives

Living Beyond Breast Cancer hit the red carpet this week for the Launch Party of  Wines by Wives.

Vicki Gunvalson and Tamra Barney

Wines By Wives is a celebrity wine club created by Vicki Gunvalson and Tamra Barney of The Real Housewives of Orange County, along with New York businessman and internet marketing entrepreneur Christopher Gravagna. When you become a member of this fabulous wine-of-the-month club, each month you will receive two great wines – two reds, two whites, or one of each that have been selected by one of the reality television stars. LBBC recently became involved with this project because Wines by Wives donates a portion of the proceeds to the chosen charities of  Tamra and Vicki. At the launch party on Tuesday, May 8th, Tamra proudly announced that Living Beyond Breast Cancer was her charity of choice! Sample a few of the attendees on the blog, then take a look at a full album of celebrities who attended at SnapStarLive.

Michael Clarke Duncan(Green Mile) &
Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth(The Apprentice)

Stuart O’Keeffe from Private Chefs of Beverly Hills

Philly native, Ashley Herbert, from The Bachelorette

And take a look: Our own associate director of marketing and corporate sponsorships, Kevin Gianotto, was rubbing elbows with Tamra!

LBBC’s Kevin Gianotta with Tamra Barney

 Be sure to check out Wines by Wives, watch the video of Tamra talking about her collaboration with LBBC and come learn more about how you can get involved with Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

How do you define quality of life?

When a woman is initially diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, she may  be feeling relatively well. Her first inclination is to be very aggressive with her treatment. Her doctor will probably respond by saying, “We’re going to start you off on hormonal therapy. You’ll take a pill each day. Then we’ll see what you need after that.”

Her brain goes into overdrive and she thinks, “Did he say a pill? Just a pill? Why not do chemo again? Why not radiation to where the disease has spread?” The reason is tied to quality of life, but doctors aren’t always very good at explaining it that way.

Getting the best quality of life during treatment is not only important to a woman, but to her healthcare team too. The goal when treating stage IV breast cancer is to get it under control and keep it in control for as long as possible. Hormonal therapy has fewer side effects than heavy duty chemotherapy drugs, allowing a woman to be active and continue living her life. Chemotherapy and radiation are held for a later time.

So if you are currently dealing with metastatic breast cancer, or fear that one day you will be in such a situation, think carefully about how you define quality of life. Remember that how you define it today may be a starting point. As you progress through treatment, you will reassess your quality of life definitions and expectations and redefine it as needed. It is not a stagnant thing at all. It can’t be.

Consider this a valuable exercise. Define for yourself how you measure quality of life. What are you willing to trade for more time on this earth? How will you reassess this definition for yourself and under what circumstances? Have a frank and open discussion with your loved ones about this, too. Put these thoughts to paper, remembering that you can change your mind as your situation changes. 

I’ll leave you with a personal experience of mine. I was attending a conference where research data was being presented and the discussion focused on a specific drug that had proven itself to be able to extend the lives of women with metastatic breast cancer by 3 months. One of the attendees said to me, “what good will that do a patient? It’s only 3 months.”

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my 30s and again at age 40. Three months is, well, 90 days, 2160 hours. In that time frame, another grandchild can be born, a wedding anniversary celebrated, and many more special memories created. I am a personal believer that we need to ensure pain is managed well so those 2160 hours can be spent living.

How do you define quality of life? And how do you make sure you’re living life to its fullest? Leave us a comment or join our message boards to talk with other women living with metastatic breast cancer.

This entry was written by Lillie D. Shockney, a member of Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s medical advisory board. Ms. Shockney is University Distinguished Service Assistant Professor of Breast Cancer and assistant professor in the departments of surgery and gynecology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is also an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.

Register for our teleconference on November 5 to hear Ms. Shockney talk about living fully and making treatment decisions. Call (610) 645-4567 to register for the free teleconference or visit our website to register.