“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt
The aim of this initiative is to create memories, life experiences, and fulfill last wishes for individuals in the United States living with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer, particularly those who are less fortunate. In addition, Project 10.15 seeks to create awareness and to educate regarding the significance of Stage IV MBC.
MBC is a cancer which no one is talking about. It is a cancer which is not part of the public discourse and is greatly misunderstood. Breast Cancer awareness is focused on early detection, prevention, and being able to raise your hand as being a ‘survivor’. While any life-threatening disease is traumatic for the individual and family, Metastatic Breast Cancer doesn’t fit into any of these boxes.
MBC is a stage IV diagnosis for breast cancer and there is no cure. Those living with the disease will have it for the rest of their lives. Life transitions to being able to manage the disease, the treatments, and retain some element of quality of life. MBC is a death sentence from Day 1. MBC can be diagnosed on Day 1. MBC breaks all the rules and is rarely talked about.
MBC is the most advanced stage of breast cancer, cancer that has spread throughout the body to other vital organs. For those living with MBC, the mind can be the biggest challenge and coming to terms with what really matters most in your life and how you wish to spend your last chapter, whether it be a few months or a few years.
- All women (& men) who die from Breast Cancer die from Stage IV Metastatic BC
- 1:8 women will get breast cancer. 1:3 of these women will get Metastatic BC
- This translates to 40,000 deaths in the United States each year
- Median survival rate after Metastatic diagnosis is 3 years
- Estimated 150,000 to 250,000 women and men in the U.S. living currently with MBC
- Last two decades less than 20 new drugs FDA approved for MBC
- 72% believe that MBC (advanced stage breast cancer) is curable
- Over 60% know little or nothing about MBC
- In the United States, over 100 people die every day from Stage IV
On December 22, 2015, a light was extinguished. Jan Evans, a founding member of Taj Global Understanding, had quietly battled Stage IV MBC for 10 years, far exceeding the short six months she was advised during initial diagnosis. She was 68.
Jan’s journey began growing up on a farm in Northern Virginia. She spent her entire life giving, connecting people, volunteering, and making the world a better place. She was a loving wife and mother. Her smile and laugh were infectious.
Jan was instrumental in the establishment of Taj Global Understanding. She visited India twice, organized programs for inbound exchange students, coordinated host families, introduced Indian kids to homemade cupcakes, and shared her values and America’s values with many international visitors.
Jan was born on October 15; hence Project 10-15. The last thing Jan would want was notoriety, the utilization of her image, or her name being stamped everywhere. Jan lived her life with love, light, and faith. Sunflowers were her favorite flower. Project 10.15 has been created in honor of Jan’s 10 year battle with MBC, her amazing life and contribution to society, and as an inspiration to those who live with this disease today.
Project 10.15 will be promoted through various oncology and cancer centers throughout Virginia & North Carolina initially. Qualified applicants, those currently being treated for Stage IV MBC, will submit applications to TGU. Applications will include biographical details as well as personal stories and photos to illustrate the uniqueness of that individual.
Applications to Project 10.15 will be reviewed semi-annually (January and July) by a panel of community leaders in Culpeper, Virginia who were very closely associated to Jan Evans. The committee will award grants and TGU will coordinate and facilitate the experience with the MBC patient.
Sample ‘gifts of love’ to be granted include:
- Paying bills
- Gift Cards
- Travel arrangements for distant family member to visit
- Special day trip
- Hobby or Class
- Family photo session
- Basic home improvement (essential)
- Plus many, many, many more……