Improving Cancer Survivorship Care Begins In Your Backyard
Elevate Ambassadors are advocates, leaders, and survivors who ensure quality cancer care is delivered. Ambassadors receive mentorship, support, networking opportunities, and in-person training to develop and execute a plan-of-action to improve survivorship care in their local community.
It may seem like no small task for Elevate Ambassadors to make a difference in cancer care in their communities — that’s because it isn’t. Yet, it’s their opportunity to get the training and mentorship they need to successfully achieve a rewarding result for local survivors who are their neighbors, colleagues, family friends, and more.
2020 Elevate Ambassadors
We are proud to provide training, support, and mentorship to the 14 patient advocate leaders who represent our 2020 Ambassadors Program. They are:
Joli has dedicated 10 years to coordinating and planning events and outreach activities for the Fred Hutchinson Survivorship Program team. It is her goal to improve survivors’ wellness, after treatment, and increase awareness about how to stay healthy.
As an exercise program leader for cancer survivors, she brings her experience in exercise and wellness for survivors to various opportunities and outreach events.
Jen aims to improve the awareness and education surrounding the late and long-term issues so that survivors can be more empowered and advocate for themselves.
Agoura Hills, CA
Woodrow Brokenburr is a long-term cancer survivor who has spent the majority of his life actively advocating for cancer patients and survivors. Woodrow has worked directly with survivors through the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life by providing support services and raising awareness. He has also worked with the Cancer Community of Ventura County and the Cancer outreach committee at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks.
Woodrow is passionate about cancer research and connecting scientists with those who have been touched by cancer. He has served as a patient advocate at the state and national levels and hopes to further understand how to address the needs of those impacted by cancer.
Jen is an eight-year breast cancer survivor, though she still struggles with that term. At 32 and a brand-new mom, she was mistakenly diagnosed with stage 4, metastatic breast cancer and treated for nearly five years. In 2016, a lung biopsy revealed sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disease that can mimic cancer on scans. She was taken off treatment and today, she shows no sign of either disease. She will always be a staunch ally to patients living with metastatic cancer.
A lawyer and former lobbyist before the federal government, Jen writes about motherhood, policy, and cancer on her blog, BoobyandtheBeast.com. She has written for numerous outlets and was featured on The Today Show in a segment kicking off Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Jen is an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.
Dr. Crystal Champion saw the need to serve cancer patients on a larger scale and encourage patients to take a more holistic approach to restoring their well-being and quality of life as the side-effects from treatment are often not addressed adequately, or at all.
She promotes and advocates for cancer survivorship through Champions Can! Foundation for Cancer Wellness, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) nonproﬁt organization she founded. Her physical therapy company and nonproﬁt organization strive to be the leader in providing high quality care for lymphedema treatment and cancer rehabilitation, as well as cancer support services in her community.
Dr. Champion advocates for cancer patients on a daily basis to ensure they have an improved quality of life during and after cancer care.
Central Point, OR
Lesley Glenn is an 8-year metastatic breast cancer survivor who is fueled by passion and motivation to bring awareness, raise funds, and deliver support for those affected by breast cancer. She has been actively involved in metastatic breast cancer advocacy since 2015, in addition to serving as an organizational mentor and speaker.
Lesley has always described herself as an advocate who has not let cancer define her life, but a reason for new advocacy opportunities.
She advocates for those who might not have a voice by bringing her own personal experience of cancer to the forefront and is especially passionate about bridging the gap of health disparities as it pertains to people of color and those who do not access to care.
Lesley is working on a survivorship initiative for those living with metastatic breast cancer. This is an untapped subject matter, as nearly all survivorship programs deal with the “AFTER” treatment cancer community. The MBC community will never experience “after” treatment. Their treatment is Lifelong. Lesley’s metastatic survivorship project is called Project Life. You can follow the initiative on twitter @projectlifembc. If you would like to contact Lesley about Project Life, please email her at LesleyKailani@gmail.com.
Kimberly Harrison is the Executive Director of Supporting Our Sisters International, Inc. (SOSI), which aims to improve the continuum of care and reduce breast cancer mortality. She concentrated her attention on strategic messaging to help move SOSI from a breast cancer organization to a breast health organization.
Her 20 years of professional experience and ability to build relationships helped her negotiate a partnership with a commercial company advancing innovation in breast cancer early detection. Kimberly oversaw the successful implementation and roll-out of the BeSure/SOSI Early Detection Program. The program completed over 600 digital breast exams with the use of one mobile suite in the first quarter.
Kimberly loves working with people and sees specific needs in her area, especially for African American women. She plans to increase awareness and access about breast cancer screenings.
Nancy Howe was diagnosed with head and neck cancer in 1997. She was a weekend athlete who exercised throughout her treatment, overcoming fatigue and maintaining strength. Nancy left her career, earned her master’s degree in exercise at ASU, and counseled survivors about physical activity.
Nancy learned that pain, fatigue, and functional impairments that often limit survivors’ activity can be resolved by cancer rehabilitation, but unfortunately most oncologists and survivors are unaware of these essential services. To become a more effective advocate, Nancy entered the PhD program at ASU’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation in 2017, and in 2021 completed her comprehensive exams. Nancy’s PhD research will focus on promoting cancer rehabilitation in both oncology and survivorship.
Wenora was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2011 and has since been diagnosed with two additional cancers. Her diagnoses have solidified the need to understand how patients will get the care they need for ongoing treatment. Wenora has since become a volunteer and advocate, attending several trips to Capitol Hill to speak on behalf of survivors by voicing their concerns about patient care, the future of health care, and pressing need for more mental health support.
Wenora believes in continuing the conversation about ongoing financial, policy, and healthcare needs.
Joslyn is an almost six-year breast cancer survivor who believes in helping as many survivors as she can. She has cultivated relationships within the cancer community by approaching each situation with empathy and understanding. She knows how difficult, but important, it can be to advocate for yourself.
Once she was diagnosed, she started volunteering at a local cancer treatment center to provide patients and their families with resources. She also became a fundraiser and leader in several patient committees and organizations.
Joslyn believes there are not enough resources, especially for younger patients. Yet, there are a lot of questions and opportunities to address important topics, such as: relationships, fertility, etc. She looks forward to raising more awareness and support to address important survivorship issues.
Sunny Isles Beach, FL
Because Debbie’s mother and three sisters died from breast cancer, Debbie was consistently screened for breast cancer, yet she was not advised to be genetically tested for hereditary cancer until she was diagnosed with TNBC and a BRCA1 mutation at age 49.
Since her diagnosis, Debbie has been learning, educating, and advocating as much as possible about hereditary cancer. She started her volunteer work with Facing our Risk of Cancer Empowered to be a peer support leader. Her training in hereditary cancer transitioned into opportunities to learn and become a patient advocate.
Debbie wants to continue her journey in advocacy work as an Ambassador by empowering her community.
As founder and Executive Director of Pinktopps, Raquel hosts awareness events (such as health seminars) with health care experts and community members for survivors. She focuses on early detection for low income, underserved women, health lifestyle tools and resources, and support for survivors’ families and caregivers.
Raquel aspires to further partner with other community organizations to work together to enhance a better living for women living with breast cancer and their caregivers.
Amy fell in love with the idea of helping kids and their families while they were battling cancer when she volunteered at a local Oncology camp at age 15. It shaped her purpose in life as she continued to volunteer for the camp for nearly 30 years, in addition to serving as a Cancer Control Specialist.
She garnered media attention from a PBS documentary, Lion in the House, by working with pediatric cancer centers across the U.S. to develop outreach opportunities to young adult survivors. She was asked to develop and lead local educational workshops focused on creating healthy action plans for survivors across the state, known as Our New Normal. These state-wide workshops continue each year.
Her greatest joy is working with survivors and their families.
Susan’s advocacy work over the past four years has been about building a foundation of understanding and experience and to develop a network of stakeholders in order to address the special needs of long-term cancer survivors.
Susan wants to address the long-term psycho-social and emotional impact cancer survivors face by increasing awareness about the late effects of treatments. As an Elevate Ambassadors, she aims to educate patients and their providers about high-risk screening protocols and the importance of life-long follow-up for early detection of cardiac disease and secondary cancers.
She looks forward to bringing meaningful change to improve the quality of life for the nearly 17 million cancer survivors.
Cancer survivor and nurse, Christi Turnage was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 2006 and stage 4 in 2008. As an experienced nurse who received a master’s degree after working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and as a clinical educator in Pediatric Critical Care, Christi started the Awaken cancer support group.
Christi speaks consistently with new cancer patients and provides them guidance, education, and support with their diagnosis and its effect on long-term side effects, career, relationships, health, and more. She speaks at several conferences at training workshops.
She is passionate about helping survivors not just survive, but thrive.
Ambassadors said this about their Elevate experience:
“I would never have even attempted something like this without the support and encouragement of NCCS. It’s been a game changer and a life changer as well.”
“Not really knowing anything about NCCS before applying, I found the Elevating Survivorship program to be extremely supportive, inclusive, and enlightening. Meeting so many smart, talented, driven advocates was very inspiring.”
“I have loved participating.”
Some achievements from Elevate Ambassadors have included:
Hosting local support groups and wellness courses
Creating a Public Service Announcement on the late effects of cancer treatments
Hosting a conference locally for cancer survivors focusing on their future health needs
Creating patient/family advocacy groups at local hospitals
Connecting research scientists with survivors to improve cancer research
Publicizing support resources for all people touched by cancer
How will 2020 Elevate Ambassadors engage their local communities for better cancer care?
In addition to direct support, 2020 Elevate Ambassadors will be trained on the following:
Models of survivorship care and its evolving needs and economics
How to do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis and environmental scan – what’s working and where are the opportunities for improvement?
How to develop and execute a project plan-of-action
Committed to working at the local level to improve survivorship care.
A resident of the United States of America.
Preferred Expertise & Composition. Ideal Ambassadors have general knowledge of survivorship care and skills to develop and maintain relationships with individuals in order to host presentations and trainings to cancer care teams.
Program and Time Commitment
Attendance at an in-person training in Washington, D.C in late summer/fall 2020. Travel and lodging for Ambassadors will be paid for by NCCS.
Monthly learning collaborative calls/webinars with educational topics.
Mentorship and support by NCCS team.
Report progress on project plan goals and action items.
Ambassadors will be encouraged to identify a “sponsor/partner/mentor” who will be a point-of-contact for them and work collaboratively with them. Ambassadors will develop goals, timeline, outcomes, etc. and use this individual as a source of accountability, in addition to NCCS support.
The Ellen L. Stovall Award for Innovation in Patient-Centered Cancer Care is a unique opportunity for patients and survivors to recognize pioneers who are transforming the cancer care system.
The NCCS Cancer Policy & Advocacy Team (CPAT) is a program for survivors and caregivers to learn about pressing policy issues that affect quality cancer care in order to be engaged as advocates in public policy around the needs of cancer survivors.
Share Your Story
NCCS represents the millions of Americans who share a common experience – the survivorship experience – living with, through and beyond a cancer diagnosis.
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