Friday, April 2, 2010

Journey of Hope Ride in South Africa!

I just found out I was accepted as one of 25 breast cancer survivors to ride in the 2010 Journey of Hope Awareness Ride in South Africa! The Ride begins in Durban, from there we will travel through all the smaller towns, villages and cities via the Orange Free State, the Eastern Cape, Southern Cape and the finish will be in Cape Town.

The rumbling Harley Davidson journey will commence on the 9th to the 16th October 2010 - making big noise!

More to come as I learn more!

Very excited.... And a little scared.

SHE LIVES show opening

Opening of SHE LIVES, an art exhibition at Commonweal Gallery, Bolinas, CA from Nancy Bellen on Vimeo.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

Commonweal Gallery - SHE LIVES: January 24, 3-5

encaustic cast by: Lissa Rankin
photo by: Nancy Bellen



Stories of Love, Loss, Recovery & Hope

Lissa Rankin and Nancy Bellen

January 24 - March 6

Opening Reception:

Sunday, January 24 from 3 - 5 PM

Commonweal • 451 Mesa Road • Bolinas • California

415.868.0970 •

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Documentary project on the BRCA gene

Outlived Outraged Outspoken: One Woman's Mission to Save Her Family from Nancy Bellen on Vimeo.

Outlived, Outraged, Outspoken: One Woman's Mission To Save Her Family

I met Christine Benjamin in October on an Amazon Heart Thunder Ride. She is the first woman in her family to survive premenopausal cancer in 70 years. Some of the members in Christine's family carry the BRCA gene, the gene linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Christine is on a mission to save the next generation of her family with education and genetic testing.

We started the one year journey of documenting that story in December 09.The passing of the genetic anti- discrimination law in November 09 makes Christine's story even more timely.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October again?

October, the month of all months. The month when the media turns up to ask, "What do you think about breast cancer?" My standard response has always been, "What can we do?"

It is a much better question don’t you think? 

I was pleased when The Breast Cancer Fund asked me to launch their Take Action campaign for October. 

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hello from down under!

Mary Onyango, Executive Director, Kenya Breast Health Programme

I just finished up my week at the UICC 15th Reach to Recovery Conference in Brisbane, Australia. The whole conference was pretty terrific, 600 delegates from 331 organizations and 104 countries. The best part for me was getting to have conversations with women representing the developing countries.

I met a terrific friend from the Kenya Breast Health Programme in Kenya, Mary Onyongo, is the executive director. In addition to sharing with us that poverty and shame are the biggest obstacles in the way of treating or even identifying breast cancer in her country, Mary has a wicked funny sense of humor and I enjoyed her immensely. Did I mention Mary wants Amazon Heart to bring ours bike to Kenya and ride. When I suggested we might also help by building something, she said it was more important for the women to see us on our bikes and to bring them out of their homes, and hopefully face the shame .

Aliza Dolev, The Head of Rehabilitation and Welfare, Israel

Another great pal was Aliza Dolev. Aliza served 20 years as a psychologist in the Israeli Army specialising in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder before leaving to work in the world of cancer.

Aliza developed a program for young women diagnosed with cancer, between the ages of 19-35, who fall between the chairs (cracks). They send the young women into the desert in jeeps- sound familiar? Also they have a program once a year where the young women are sent out in groups to navigate together for a week sailing. This is to help them realize that they can do for themselves.

Aliza has offered for Tim, Wy and I come and stay with her family next summer, sounds good!

29 Malaysian survivors, their surgeon, and one husband!

This group was one of my favorites. They are all survivors of breast cancer, and delighted for their camaraderie. They assured me that just their group was enough to keep their beloved surgeon in business and that he did not have to practice with any others. Also that the dirty jokes kept them happy. They dragged one husband along for the trip this year but were hoping to bring others along to the next conference!

These are just 3 of the many, many stories from new friends I met, I was treated to such a rich exchange with this week. Now off to lay low a few days with old friends before we meet our bikes and more new friends for phase to of this great Aussie adventure.

Oh ya, and as for how my speaking went. It went well- with 6 or so of my American pals in the audience for added confidence.

* I was asked to contribute my thoughts on the conference to Bloom, Reach to Recovery International's October Issue.