Thanks to everyone who supports Shocking Pink we were able to assist Jess Weller to attend the Young Survival Coalition conference last year. Here’s a message from Jess, who is on a mission to empower young women with knowledge about breast cancer.

YSC Summit1Hey there lovely ladies of Shocking Pink and supporters of an amazing organisation,

I hope this latest blog post finds you well.

My name is Jess. I was diagnosed with HER2+ , Stage 3 DCIS breast cancer at age 27 while on my OE in London in June 2013. I ended up staying in the UK for treatment while working full time as a teacher and travelling Europe. I have been back in Auckland since December 2015 so just trying to get back into NZ life. I got involved in breast cancer education and prevention awareness while I was in the UK and came back to NZ wanting to help New Zealanders. I set up a project to go to conferences overseas in order to bring information and resources back to help boost things here – especially in regards to the younger generations and the awareness and prevention education they receive which is minimal.

With a bit of a helping hand from Shocking Pink I was able to attend the YSC (Young Survival Coalition) Summit in Houston, Texas from the 6th to the 8th of March. The YSC Summit is Young Survival Coalition’s annual conference. It brings together a multitude of organisations that all in their own way have some impact on people who are curious about, are going through or have themselves been through breast cancer.The organisation itself was set up back in 1998 when three young women who felt there wasn’t enough support out there for young women with breast cancer – young being under the age of 35 in most cases. This event brought together 600 women and their co-survivors (family, friends, partners) to inform, support, educate, inspire and hopefully shed some light on the journey ahead and how to be supported in moving forward. YSC’s main aims are to improve services and treatment for those going through breast cancer and aim to increase public education, awareness and support for breast cancer. http://www. youngsurvival.org

It was amazing to meet so many inspired individuals want to get involved in advocacy and one of the key take aways from the event was that as survivors we need to tell more people our stories. Sharing our experience will inevitably make people more aware and aid in the education and  prevention of the disease – we have so much knowledge and power to change the thinking of others. I was the only New Zealander there so hopefully next year we can get together and have a better representation – the USA has awesome shopping! Haha Such a brilliant event. Had a blast.

If you want to read more about my project and my time at the YSC Summit feel free to check out my personal blog at www.jessweller.com