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About Us

Quick Links: Meet The PresidentCelebrating The Founder • Board Of DirectorsPress • 2012 Annual Report

Founder’s Note:

Hey, Girlfriend!

So you made it to the Get In Touch Foundation website and now you want to know a little more about WHY we are who we are…no “nutshell” is big enough, but here goes!

In 2004, when I was 39 years old, I found a lump on my left breast.  I had a negative mammogram, an ultrasound and a surgical biopsy to remove it, and was told it was malignant.  I had a lumpectomy and a sentinel node biopsy and was diagnosed with Stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma.  I started chemotherapy on May 5, “Chemo de Mayo”, shaved my head on May 7 – my 40th birthday – had a stroke during my 4th treatment, had a trans-catheter-closure to repair the hole in my heart, resumed chemo, had a bi-lateral mastectomy on October 13 and had reconstructive surgery via tissue expanders.   “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” many of you are saying…me, too.  Well, Sister, you’re the reason “why we are.”

My girlfriend Susan (one of the coolest and smartest chicks I know) and I gave birth to the Get In Touch Foundation one morning while scarfing down doughnuts at Krispy Kreme.  We are “women of strength” and were determined to kick this cancer thing right in the teeth and turn lemons into lemonade.  We have five daughters between us and dream of a day when breast cancer is a vaccinatable thing of the past, (I’m not sure that vaccinatable is actually a word – but it is now!) but until then, we wanted to at least arm these girls with all of the information and tools they need to be as strong and smart as their moms!  (We can teach strong and smart, however, we’ve told them that when it comes to cool, they’re on their own!)

So, we rally the troops, aka, all of the other strong, smart and cool chicks we know, and we share our dream.  (We have had a few men on the Board of Directors, too, you should know, and yes, they are also very strong, smart and cool!)

We put our dreams on paper and made a “Wish List”.  Our “Wish List” evolved into a Mission Statement that truly is a living document for The Get In Touch Foundation.

The mission of the Get In Touch Foundation is to provide breast health initiatives that educate gals and guys of all ages how to “get in touch” with their bodies, information, and each other in our crusade against breast cancer.

How??

Well…five daughters, remember?  We didn’t think we should wait until our daughters were women before teaching them the importance of “getting in touch” with their bodies, to know their bodies well enough that they would be able to recognize any subtle change and be comfortable enough to let someone (mom, aunt, school nurse)  know when they did.

“BSE Like BYT” – Breast Self Exam Like Brushing Your Teeth

That’s how we want girls to approach this simple way of getting in touch with their bodies – making BSE a lifelong habit that helps them take responsibility for their body and the care of their health.

We’re going to teach them how to do that with the FREE Get In Touch Girls Program & Daisy Wheel.  This program teaches girls to “get in touch” with their bodies through self-examination and has been developed by board members and members of the medical community, including focus-groups of girls ages 8-18.  Our interactive and fun Daisy Wheel teaches the importance of and how to do a breast self-examination – not just for now, but for life!  The Daisy Wheel is given to girls in grades 5-12 when health educators discuss hygiene and the girls’ changing bodies.

Pretty cool, huh?!

Don’t forget to check out my Blog…you know, I’ve learned a lot in the last 10+ years and I’ve got a lot to share about the wonderful world of breast health and the incredible world of breast cancer. I’ll update you on my latest “wellness challenge,” too, a breast cancer recurrence that I am currently undergoing treatment for.  Grateful for the life-saving treatment I am receiving from my super-fabuloso “Healing Team,” I’m happy to report that I’ve never been more alive!

So, remember this…you don’t have to write a book or start a foundation to change the world.  All you have to do is encourage the women in your life to get in touch with their bodies, information, and each other…in our crusade against breast cancer.

Hope Lives!girls

Mary Ann Wasil Nilan

Mary Ann Wasil

Breast Cancer Kickin’ Survivor
& Health Activist,
President, CEO & Founder,
The Get In Touch Foundation

About the Founder