Oct. 18, 2013

October Blog Series

Bonnie Brayton, National Executive Director of DAWN-RAFH Canada

This is the way DAWN-RAFH Canada’s “leadership, partnership, and networking” mantra plays out like a 100 yard touchdown … to be where we are today, working alongside organizations like the Canadian Breast Cancer Network and the Canadian Association for Community Living during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

It starts with leadership from women in our movement. Women like Maria Barile, who, sadly, we lost this summer. Maria saw and lived through the loss of a dear friend to breast cancer. She had not been screened. This led Maria to undertake an audit of Montreal breast cancer screening sites back in 2006. Her work led us to the Canadian Breast Cancer Network and a partnership that has in turn led to the report “Women with Disabilities & Breast Cancer Screening: Identified Problems, Strategies, and Recommended Next Steps” that is featured on our website this month. Which in turn has led to our working with the Canadian Association for Community Living to develop better cancer screening practices for ALL people with disabilities.

Using a community level approach and understanding that even systemic change starts at the individual level sometimes makes it seem that our challenges are insurmountable…but I am here to tell you that every day I hear from someone across our networks about how things got just a tiny bit better!

Later on this month you will be hearing from two women who are dear to our hearts here at DAWN-RAFH Canada. Fran Odette is one of the most widely respected community researchers in the country, and she is leading our national accessibility audit of cancer screening sites. Isabelle Ducharme has survived cancer and a very late diagnosis and has gone on to lead Kéroul one of the most innovative organizations for people with disabilities here in Quebec.

Bonnie Brayton

National Executive Director