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Breast Cancer Task Force Survivor Stories

To view the Survivor Stories, please visit the links on the right.

About two years ago, members of the ABA Health Law Section’s Breast Cancer Task Force embarked on a project focusing on the stories of attorneys who had survived breast cancer. The BCTF had always had an “outward” focus: training attorneys to help patients; providing resources to patients, but never specifically on how to help attorneys dealing themselves with breast cancer.

Practicing attorneys are often measured by their competence, stamina, competitive edge and willingness to make personal sacrifices not seen in other professions. These pressures create unique challenges for attorneys fighting breast cancer and raise common concerns among lawyers about whether and when to disclose a diagnosis to one’s employer, the court and/or clients; how much or how little to work during treatment; if and how colleagues and clients will judge the attorney’s competence and ability to practice law during treatment, among many other issues.

We found that learning about the experiences of how practicing attorneys managed career, family and treatment offers a wonderful vehicle for sharing practical solutions for attorneys fighting the disease. Sharing the stories of attorneys who have survived breast cancer provides an opportunity for reducing the sense of isolation and fear commonly experienced among our colleagues.

Our goal with this project is to help instill a sense of hopefulness that not only can this disease be overcome, but life during and after treatment can be surprisingly enriching and successful. Most importantly, by developing this on-line resource of attorney survivor stories, we hope to convey the message that there is no one “right” way to experience and manage this disease. Instead, to encourage attorneys touched by breast cancer, either as a patient, caregiver, spouse, partner, loved one, friend or colleague, to read the survivor stories shared here to help you find what is right for you.

We thank the courageous attorneys who have shared their breast cancer stories for the launch of this program and encourage anyone interested in participating in this project to contact Theresa Livingston of the Health Law Section staff at Theresa.livingston@americanbar.org.

As this project evolves, we hope to expand the library of survivor stories to include the experiences of attorneys whom themselves may not have breast cancer but who are nonetheless touched by breast cancer because their spouse, parent, friend, child, etc., are fighting the disease.