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BBYO Supports National Breast Cancer Awareness Legislation

October 9, 2009

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Campaign kicks off in October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Committed to making a difference in the world around them, BBYO teen leaders will be working hand-in-hand with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz’s (D- FL) office to support her proposed bill, The EARLY Act—legislation advocating breast cancer awareness and early detection education. Through a series of awareness campaigns and events, BBYO will make The EARLY Act an integral part of its service and advocacy agenda through its new Stand Up for Those in Need Campaign.

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BBG International Nsiah Emily Trotz and International Morah Ilana Avergun meet with Congresswomen Wasserman Schultz.

The EARLY Act provides BBYO teens hands-on experience with real policy work on an issue that is vitally important, particularly due to the increased risk for the disease in Jewish women. Througout the year, several national initiatives will take place such as:

• A letter writing campaign to Congress to help push the legislation.
• Educational programs to teach teens about the dangers of breast cancer.
• A ‘Think Pink’ gala at BBYO’s International Convention in February to give back to the cause and raise awareness for young women and men.

The goal of these programs is make sure that our youth are proactive in the fight against breast cancer. Education is the key to fighting this deadly disease, as outlined in the EARLY Act.

“It feels wonderful to raise awareness about something that means so much for so many,” said Ilana Avergun, 17, from Rockville, MD. “Because this legislation is focused on young people, it is important that we get out and do something to help spread the word.”

In 2008, the American Cancer Society estimated that there would be 182,460 new cases of breast cancer in women. Of these cases, more than 10,000 – 11,000 of these women would be under 40 years of age. Additionally, certain ethnic groups, including Ashkenazi Jews, and African American young women, have an increased risk of breast cancer. In fact, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in young women under the age of 40.

The Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act, or EARLY Act directs the Centers for Disease Control to develop and implement a national education campaign about the threat breast cancer poses to young women of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and the particular heightened risks of certain groups. The campaign will help educate young women and better enable health care professionals to identify the specific threats and warning signs of breast cancer, which will lead to early diagnoses and saved lives.

Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz, whose husband is a BBYO alum, describes her personal battle with breast cancer in the following way, “Some people might say I was lucky. While I certainly was fortunate enough to have access to good health care, I didn't find my tumor early because of luck. I found my tumor early because of knowledge and awareness.”

Click here to visit the official EARLY Act website or click here to learn more about BBYO’s Stand Up for Those in Need Campaign.

Watch this clip of Rep Wasserman Schultz testifying about her breast cancer legislation, The EARLY Act

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