Breast cancer activism runs in Lynae’s family, as her grandmother, after battling the disease and facing a mastectomy in the 1950s, became instrumental in bringing the early testing initiative to Utah. She and other activist ladies would bring machines to churches, community centers, or anywhere they could and spread word that free testing would be available.
However, Lynae’s own involvement in breast cancer activism started a little differently. As a medical device marketing consultant, she had the opportunity to assist companies in raising awareness of breast reconstruction and also in interviewing patients with breast cancer.
Things turned particularly personal, however, when her own mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a nursing instructor, Lynae’s mother was not unfamiliar with the medical world, and yet, to Lynae’s great shock, not one physician ever spoke with her mom about the possibility of breast reconstruction or how that might impact her breast surgery choices. In fact, when her mom went to one of the top breast cancer centers in America and was handed an entire binder on every potential breast cancer choice, not a single section even mentioned breast reconstruction. Not one person in the hospital discussed breast reconstruction. Lynae had to be that person. In the end, with Stage 1 breast cancer, Lynae’s mom chose a lumpectomy, but even in that, she still did not realize there were reconstruction options available to women who have lumpectomies.
Simultaneously, as part of Lynae’s work, she began interviewing women with breast cancer on where they received information about breast reconstruction. She states, “I was horrified to see that most women I talked to did not understand or know that breast reconstruction was an option or that they had choices.”
Out of this, “I’m Taking Charge” was born.