Living Beyond Diagnosis


Ms Anna Wallace, founder of Living Beyond Diagnosis

Anna Wallace is a highly motivated breast cancer advocate, who was so inspired by attending the 10th annual conference for younger women affected by breast cancer in 2010, that she came back to the UK with a burning desire to do something. In today’s post, I interview Anna to find out more about her organisation, Living Beyond Diagnosis .

JBBC: Anna, tell me a little about what led you to set up Living Beyond Diagnosis?

A.W.  I gained so much from this conference, from information, confidence, advice, shared stories and most importantly a community support.  I returned from the US ‘annoyingly positivite’ and with a belief that there should be something similar in the UK for all ages and both sexes affected by breast cancer so that others can also feel ‘annoyingly positive’!

In May of 2010 and funded by a small insurance policy payout, I left fulltime employment with the goal to do exactly that… set up a charity with the sole intention of hosting events for anyone affected by cancer in the UK.  I’ve been emailing, talking to and meeting with many organisations, charities, hospitals and businesses connected with the world of breast cancer since then.  We now have a number of speakers committed to the event including a major hospital, Christies, the National Cancer Action Team, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and also a number of the wellbeing areas including My New Hair, Look Good Feel Better and some complementary therapists and stylists.  Some speakers have been secured for the 20+ workshops too. 

JBBC:  Are your events for breast cancer patients specifically or for all cancers?

A.W. Living Beyond Diagnosis is hosting events for anyone affected by specific types of cancer.  The first annual event is for anyone affected by breast cancer.  The intention is that LBD host further events (and that all of them become annual events) for different cancer groups.  Already requested is mens’ cancers (ie testicular, prostate), childhood cancers (ie  neuoblastoma, childhood leukemia) and womens’ cancers (ie cervical, vulva, ovarian – not breast) and that each cancer will have its own website colouring to match the associated ribbon(s) and therefore that the ‘orange’ area of the website is the charity main page leading to each specific cancer event and coloured site.  However let’s first get this one done!

JBBC: How can people find out more information about LBD? Do you have a website?

A.W. The  website is currently a holding page linking through to a mission statement about the event and a donate button with PayPal.  However a full website has been commissioned and is in development. There will be a forum on the website when it goes live where people will be asked to join in discussions about the upcoming event, what issues/questions they have, what workshops they would like to see at the event and generally meet and greet others interested in the event and each other.  It is aimed that via the forum prospective attendees will meet others prior to the event making the support and community aspects of this annual conference a great deal stronger. We will also be dipping in to ensure we have an agenda and content that covers what people really want to know!  Please do join the forum and discussions.

JBBC: You mentioned you will be looking for help to get this off the ground. So how can readers help you?

A.W.   I am aiming to have excellent workshop speakers on a number of topics from new body image, to lymphoedema, to cancer and finances, men with breast cancer, talk about sex, fertility, reconstruction options, confidence, meditation and a whole heap more.  Should readers know or hear of anyone who they feel would be an excellent and engaging workshop host, please do pass on their details.  Do readers know of any services, organisations, charities or products that you feel should be represented at this event?  If so, please pass on the details so that I may contact them and approach them about being involved. Of course private or corporate donations to the event would be very gratefully received.  Or perhaps employers might like to sponsor some of their employees affected by breast cancer to go to our event.

JBBC:  And finally Anna when do you plan on hosting this event?

The event is to be held at the Westminster Park Plaza, London between 17th – 19th November 2011, so save the date in your diaries and registration will be opening soon.

JBBC: Best of luck with the event Anna – I am sure it will be a great success!