From the Executive Director: It Shouldn’t Take a Pandemic to Prioritize Public Health

By Karuna Jaggar, Executive Director

It shouldn’t take a pandemic to prioritize public health.

COVID-19 is an acute health justice issue that reveals the enormity of the cracks in our healthcare system. But it also shows the power of collective action, of coming together to make previously unthinkable changes through a commitment to protect public health and to save lives.

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’ve been told to shelter in place: schools are closed, businesses are shut, the streets are quiet, and our day-to-day routines have been suddenly and completely disrupted. And across the country, many of you are taking similar dramatic steps to help keep your communities safe and reduce the harm from the pandemic.

But our work does not stop with the immediate efforts to curtail the spread of the virus. Shelter in place is just one necessary step to protect vulnerable members of our communities. And there is so much more to be done.

From the cancer crisis, to the climate crisis, to COVID-19, we cannot continue business as usual. The global pause in response to this pandemic gives us all the opportunity to hit reset, and come together to rebuild a more just and healthy world.

Our work is fundamentally about breast cancer, but the impact is bigger than breast cancer. I want to assure you that Breast Cancer Action’s staff and Board are continuing this work, from our homes, across the country.

Our rapid response watchdogging, free educational materials, and providing one-on-one information and resources about breast cancer remain constant through this turbulent time. Because breast cancer doesn’t stop for pandemics. There are women finding lumps, navigating a diagnosis, managing the impact of long-term treatment, and facing the end of their lives each and every day, through the turmoil of the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

For those who have never been diagnosed with breast cancer or other serious health issues, the COVID-19 pandemic may be the first time they experience the social isolation, physical vulnerability, disruption to everyday activities, financial fear, and looming unknowns that are all too familiar for many people living with cancer.

But we can do something besides worry!

Your ongoing support is critical as we continue to pursue our bold work of health justice for all. You can donate online to support our critical work during these turbulent times.

We are resilient. And we remain relentless in our pursuit of health justice.

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