Shrewsbury woman strives to revolutionize living stronger with breast cancer
By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Three years ago, Shrewsbury resident Audrey Kurlan-Marcy and Rebecca Soulliere of Leominster co-founded an alliance for the UMass Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center in Worcester. The co-founders knew they wanted to help anyone in central Massachusetts to live stronger with breast cancer. But they weren’t as sure about choosing the organization’s name.
“The first name we came up with was A Better Breast Alliance, which wasn’t strong enough,” Kurlan-Marcy said. “The words ‘pervasive change’ are in our mission statement. What’s a stronger word that means change? That’s how we became Pink Revolution.”
For the seventh year, Kurlan-Marcy is chairing “Pink – Lighting the Way,” which will celebrate its 10th anniversary Thursday, Oct. 10 in the Albert Sherman Center at the UMass Medical School in Worcester. Registration is 5:30 p.m.; the program begins at 6 p.m. This year, proceeds from votive candles purchased to honor or remember someone whose life has been touched by breast cancer will fund a research nurse in the breast cancer center.
Held each October in observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, “Pink – Lighting the Way” is now hosted by Pink Revolution.
Self-described as “a philanthropist without all the money,” Kurlan-Marcy has donated an invaluable amount of time and energy to cancer causes. In 1984, she was a founding board member of Hope Lodge, which offers free lodging to cancer patients travelling to Worcester for therapy. She has worked with the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance since its inception 10 years ago and currently serves as its board chair.
Throughout her early years chairing the “Pink” event, Kurlan-Marcy considered how significant a breast cancer alliance would be for patients at UMass and its affiliates.
“One year at ‘Pink,’ I asked all the breast cancer survivors if they would stand up,” she relayed. “The women stood up and I got this rush. You could feel that camaraderie. At that moment I realized I needed to do this.”
“Pink” features a discussion led by a panel of survivors of different types of breast cancer. That year when Pink Revolution was formed, Kurlan-Marcy connected with one of the speakers, Soulliere, who became the other co-founder.
“I’m not a cancer survivor,” Kurlan-Marcy explained. “I felt it was important that at least one of the founders could speak to the issues of having lived through it. I’m proactive; I’m not reactive to the disease.”
Pink Revolution’s mission is to celebrate the lives of those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer; support those who currently battle breast cancer; and make pervasive change in the future of breast cancer by paving a path to living stronger and longer.
Residents from throughout central Massachusetts have become involved with Pink Revolution and promote survivorship programs in the region. The alliance is partnered with the UMass Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center and affiliates including Marlborough Hospital and the Marlborough Hospital Women’s Imaging Center in Southborough.
Meetings are held monthly and wellness programs are offered periodically throughout the year. The next wellness program – titled “I’m done with my treatment. Now what?” – is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 12, 6:30 p.m., in the Relm Library at the College of the Holy Cross. Admission is free. Register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’re hearing from breast cancer survivors that you have an army of friends who get you through treatment, and then they go back to their lives and they think you’re just going ahead. Basically, the survivors think, ‘I’m done with my treatment. Now what?’ So that’s what we’re calling the next wellness program.”
To register for “Pink – Lighting the Way,” call 508-856-5520; email email@example.com; or visit umassmed.edu/development/pink.aspx.
Contact Pink Revolution at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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