Booby Innovation Grant for Survivors with BIG ideas


In my day job, I work as a communications officer for a leading academic institution, so I am used to the world of grant proposals, but I never saw a grant title like this one – the Booby Innovation Grant!

Rethink Breast Cancer has developed the Booby Innovation Grant (BIG) to provide young breast cancer survivors with start-up funds to give back to the breast cancer community. The grant, the first of its kind in Canada, empowers survivors to create innovative products, programs or initiatives to relieve suffering and improve the quality of life of other young women diagnosed with the disease.

The grant provides funds to young women with a personal history of breast cancer who, during their own journey with the disease, have recognized a gap in support services for young women in treatment for or healing from breast cancer. What’s great is that it also enables the grant recipients to devote themselves to work in the supportive care field and encourages them to take their own life in a new direction post-breast cancer.

What a marvellous opportunity not only to help other young women with breast cancer but to help the grant recipient to make meaning of their own cancer experience. I know from personal experience how powerful that can be. When I was diagnosed with cancer, my overriding concern was my fears over the impact of cancer on my fertility. I was frustrated that there was no easily accessible information available to young women with breast cancer in Ireland, letting us know what our options were for fertility preservation.  I vowed to myself that when I finished treatment, I would make that information readily available to other young women who found themselves in a similar situation. I managed to pull together a team of experts in the field of oncology and fertility and together we produced an information booklet for younger women with breast cancer and fertility concerns, the first and to-date only one of its kind in Ireland. It is now freely available in breast cancer units, and online (click here to download a pdf version).

The day the booklet was launced by the Irish Minister for Health, I felt like something good had come out of my anguish and frustration at the time of my diagnosis.  And that is how these things get done often by someone who sees that something is missing or needed and goes out there and makes it happen. After all, who better to know what is needed than she who has been there in the trenches? So, to all Canadian survivors, here is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference and kudos to Rethink for making this possible.

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