Ten years and tens of thousands of clients since its formation, Breast Cancer Charities of America and its trademark campaign, iGoPink, have made it a mission to provide services to women diagnosed with breast cancer and to educate future generations about measures that can be taken to prevent the disease.
According to founder Erica Johnson, the organization plans to continue expanding its offerings to clients across the nation from its headquarters in The Woodlands.
According to Johnson, the BCCA and iGoPink got their start in 2009 in an office not much larger than a closet.
“I started the company with myself and an intern,” Johnson said. “We started it with market research of asking patients, ‘What do you need, and what services aren’t out there for you?’”
Johnson said after surveying patients, it became apparent women needed tools and information for themselves about what to do to change their lifestyles. Those changes include taking care of themselves, adjusting when they return to work after treatment and talking to their families when they are diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Now, to hear patients call here and say, ‘You were the first place my social worker told me to call because I know I can get help,’ … that’s very humbling,” Johnson said. “What we strived to start with 10 years ago is to find a need and fill it, and we’re filling that need in a very large capacity across the nation.”
Since its inception, the BCCA has grown and partnered with over 525 hospitals across the country, servicing all 50 states. Johnson said the organization does a lot of work locally and around the Greater Houston area due to the presence of many area hospitals.
Along with educational materials for breast cancer patients, Johnson said the primary service offered to clients is a “Bag of Hope,” which contains a variety of cosmetic items.
“Imagine being a woman and going in for therapy, and the next day you lose your hair,” she said. “There’s no woman that doesn’t want to feel beautiful again after a diagnosis of breast cancer.”
Along with the Bags of Hope, the BCCA and iGoPink partner with universities for educational materials, and it offers an online resource center for clients that includes online courses and training manuals for clients about preventative and survivor help.
“That’s really our key thing: Our mission is to educate and empower women to prevent and survive breast cancer,” Johnson said.
Although the organization has a dedicated staff, Johnson said it is always taking applications from volunteers and accepting donations for the bags.
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