By Susie Lampert, long-time BCAction supporter

Barbara Brenner and Susie Lampert

Barbara Brenner (L) and Susie Lampert

Barbara Brenner was Breast Cancer Action’s executive director from 1995 to 2010. Under her leadership, the organization grew into a national powerhouse to be reckoned with, taking on the cancer industry like no other. Barbara defined Breast Cancer Action’s persona and voice: fearless, smart, fierce, unapologetic, and, at the same time, compassionate.

Barbara was my partner for 38 years, and the love of my life. She died in 2013 and although she’s been gone for six years, her message and her work lives on through the establishment of the Barbara Brenner Breast Cancer Activist Scholarship.

This scholarship is intended to enable an activist to attend the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, the world’s largest conference devoted specifically to breast cancer. This year’s conference will be held December 10-14.

To find out more about Barbara and her message take some time to read her blog, Healthy Barbs or her book, So Much To Be Done. The Writings of Breast Cancer Activist Barbara Brenner.

Please consider applying, and I hope you’ll join me in spreading the word about the Barbara Brenner Breast Cancer Activist Scholarship and share this unique opportunity with any activists you think might be interested.

Read about the scholarship and how to apply below.


The Barbara Brenner Breast Cancer Activist Scholarship will be awarded to an activist who is committed to carrying on Barbara’s practice of telling truth to power and who wishes to attend the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), the largest scientific meeting in the world devoted exclusively to breast cancer research, treatment and survivorship. The 2019 SABCS will be held December 10-14 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas.

Every year, tens of thousands of attendees from more than 90 countries around the world gather at SABCS. They are physicians, researchers and other stakeholders, including activists who want to know – and comment on – what research is being done, what directions it is taking and how it actually affects treatment decisions and outcomes for people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

One of the leading activists was Barbara Brenner, Breast Cancer Action’s former executive director. Barbara attended the symposium every year, disseminating her analysis of the information through nightly emails to thousands of followers in Breast Cancer Action’s database. She often asked pointed questions from the microphones and challenged faculty, as when, in response to a presenter’s comment, she famously declared, “Patients don’t fail treatment. Treatment fails patients.”


The scholarship is intended to cover the costs of transportation to and from SABCS, conference registration, housing, meals, minor incidental costs while attending the symposium, and a small stipend to cover the potential cost of lost income. The amount of the award in 2019 will be $4,000.


  1. Must have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
  2. Must be familiar with breast cancer science, and have the ability to write about it for the general public.
  3. Must demonstrate previous breast cancer or health advocacy/activism experience or show why any other experience is relevant.
  4. Must not be employed by or receive funding of any sort from any entity that profits from or contributes to the breast cancer epidemic.


  1. Must attend the entire conference, including educational sessions, poster sessions, and nightly mentor sessions.
  2. Must live tweet during the conference to relay breaking news and critiques.
  3. Must write 2 blog posts about the conference that will be published on Barbara’s blog,Healthy Barbs, or another site to be identified by the scholarship committee. These articles may also be published elsewhere, with a reference to Healthy Barbs, at the attendee’s discretion, subsequent to their appearance on Healthy Barbs and subject to approval by the scholarship committee.

Send a personal statement describing your interest, qualifications, and how your attendance at the symposium will further your work in breast cancer activism, along with a CV, by June 30, 2019 to the following email address:

The 2019 recipient will be selected by the Scholarship Committee no later than August 31.