Founded in 2001 by MJ DeCoteau (who attended the recent Calgary event), Rethink Breast Cancer has become one of the nation’s leading sources of information and inspiration for women under forty. DeCoteau was featured in MacLean’s Magazine as one of their “10 Canadians who made a difference” and in Chatelaine as one of the ten women they’d like to see run the country. The organization was also noticed by Marketing Magazine for their innovative communications strategy. Rethink events, like last week’s “Rethink Romp” at Belgo, are designed to be appealing, approachable and accessible for young women because traditional medical literature is often the opposite.
Alongside parties in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto (including a breast film festival at the Royal Ontario Museum in November) Rethink has partnered with retail and fashion brands like Joe Fresh, Roots, Gap and Telus to deliver attractive fundraising merchandise. The organization’s style and results are what prompted Calgary chair Tasha Westerman to get involved after she struggled with the disease and won.
“I was looking for something that was young and hip,” she says, “Something where women could talk about what matters to women, like fertility and appearance, and that would reach out in a supportive but fun way. The experience [of having breast cancer] can be very isolating.” Westerman got in touch with DeCoteau, and together they put together the first Rethink event in Calgary.
An impressive silent auction had party-goers betting and bargaining late into the evening. Items included a Gold’s gym membership, a weekend get-away to Banff Park Lodge, WestJet round-trip tickets to a location of your choosing, and a fabulous basket of chocolate, cheese and other treats. Money raised by Rethink Breast Cancer directly supports young medical researchers in their professional and academic development, family and youth support programs, and BreastCancerNowWhat.ca, an informative website for breast cancer patients.
Guests of the romp included public relations guru Jason Krell, stylish editor of VitaminDaily.com Malwina Gudowska, Wax Creative copy-writer Stephanie Bialik, Calgary Economic Development’s Sarah Cott, Telus’ Rick Salahub, Vice President of Exploration for Trident Resources Mike Finn, and Souzan Basmahjian of Long View Systems.
Published in National Post on October 31, 2009