Documentary director Lexie Shabel began filming “the ME film” the day she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and says, “I’m not going to have surgery, I’m the one who made this cancer, I’m the one who’s going to make it go away.” Exploring different options than four generations of cancer-scarred Shabel women, it’s now over a decade later. She still has both her breasts, reproductive organs and the tumor site. She’s documented her mixed, primarily holistic treatment regime including a successful personalized cancer vaccine over this past decade. In 2010, Shabel founded Breast Wishes Fund (BWF), a nonprofit organization that offers choices for breast cancer treatment and prevention and a venue to support those uninsured options. In March 2015, Breast Wishes Fund received its independent 501c(3) status after being fiscally sponsored by New Mexico Community Foundation.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women, except for skin cancer. The rate has increased significantly in developing countries as women are adopting more Western – influenced diets and lifestyles. It is hard to say why one person is affected and not another, however there are risk factors that can impact the likelihood of developing breast cancer: age, prior personal history of breast cancer, estrogen exposure, obesity, radiation, hormone replacement therapy, cosmetic implants, environmental toxins, genetics and the list goes on. Breast cancer has become a $200 billion dollar industry, with the main focus on finding a cure, which we have been told there is not one yet. October has been deemed Breast Cancer Awareness month, bringing attention and education to the #2 cause of death in women. Yet for all the awareness being raised over breast cancer issues, there is a serious dearth of education on prevention.
Nationally, with approximately 230,000 yearly cancer diagnoses, Breast Wishes Fund has served thousands of people with cancer and those concerned with prevention. In the 1960’s, a women’s lifetime risk of cancer was one in 20, and today it is one in eight. The National Cancer Institute’s annual budget (2015) is $4.9 billion dollars with only 5 percent going towards prevention. The demand for alternative and complementary therapies is mammoth, ($34 billion has been spent in the US alone) though navigating these primarily uninsured options is a challenge for anyone. Each year, nearly a quarter of a million women continue to be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and over 40,000 women nationally will die of the disease. Additionally, it is predicted in six years, India’s cancer rates will go up 21%.
The need for Breast Wishes Fund is now more important than ever.
Breast Wishes Fund is an online and community movement to navigate treatment choices for those diagnosed with cancer, the recurrence community, their families, prevention of disease and feeling great now. BWF supports people in making health decisions from a place of knowledge by offering concise information and events about immune enhancing and cancer reducing/eliminating options.
Breast Wishes Fund has sponsored and participated in free educational events and provided in-person, phone and email support, free of charge. The dynamic website offers a user-friendly clearinghouse for choices for cancer treatment and prevention, something Lexie desired in her often fruitless research. BWF is trailblazing a movement and participating in a new paradigm for breast cancer awareness utilizing the brand line “Give US Choices”. BWF leaves the pink ribbon behind and offers “the arrow” where people can AIM @ immune-enhancing cancer treatment and prevention.
Breast Wishes Fund Vision
Breast Wishes Fund is intensely focused on the prevention of cancer and feeling healthy right NOW. Breast Wishes aggressively seeks an insured medical diagnosis environment where people are provided immune enhancing, disease reducing options for treatment and prevention beyond the current standard of care.
Breast Wishes Fund Mission
The mission of Breast Wishes Fund (BWF) is to “Give US Choices” for cancer treatment and prevention. BWF focuses on providing tools for individuals and families, locally and nationally, to inspire them to a happier and healthier quality of life.
Breast Wishes Fund Program
Breast Wishes Fund provides:
• “Compasssionate Mirror Counseling”-In person, phone and email cancer diagnosis support
• AIM @ Wellness (A@W) prevention program for students and adults
• Cancer Camp for those working with active cancer
• Uninsured Treatment Fund for uninsured cancer choices
• Website with choices for cancer therapies beyond standard of care
• Directory of health care professionals including international Advisory Board
• Newsletter with cutting edge therapy news, blog and original short films
• Ethical partnerships
Breast Wishes Fund Values
GROWTH – the continual expansion of immune enhancing, disease reducing treatment and prevention options to inspire patients immediately with a better quality of life.
FEARLESSNESS – to boldly challenge routine and standard care practices for breast cancer prevention and treatment.
TRUTH – the absolute facts, honesty and integrity in our products, partners and services.
CONSCIOUSNESS- deepening attention and understanding of individual needs, behavior, and attitudes, that helps influence this world for the better.
HUMOR – BWF’S continual ability to integrate suffering with a giggle.
Breast Wishes Fund was created to educate about alternative choices for treating breast cancer and prevention options for the next generation to be used in conjunction with or instead of standard of care. BWF provides support for women throughout their cancer diagnosis whether it’s emotional or nutritional support, the foundation will be a resource for women (and the people who love them) no matter what treatment path they are venturing. BWF serves young people to those in their eighties with one- on-one counseling, referrals and advocacy for their treatment options and with their medical practitioner. Additionally, there is the continual drive for research for cutting – edge and proactive therapies. BWF has become the go-to service for suggestions on what to do next. At events, BWF meets with 100-1000 people and approximately ten consultations weekly.
The Breast Wishes Fund Advisory Board is composed of progressive, international health care professionals offering the latest immune enhancing, disease reducing options for treatment and prevention. The Advisory Board members regularly contribute to the Ask the Advisor column of the newsletter, develop sound programming and are frequently referred to clients. Several are featured also in short films produced by Lexie Shabel and Breast Wishes Films.
Breast Wishes Fund was founded by Lexie Shabel in 2010 and she serves as CEO. Currently, The aim of the organization is to keep all expenses low and depend highly on a few excellent contractors and mostly in-kind and volunteer donations. Proudly, the organization has been able to help thousands of people with its counseling services, engaging and educational website, and programs like Aim @ Wellness with a minimal financial resources. In 2014, BWF created the Uninsured Treatment Fund and sponsored its first recipient to receive immunological treatment at the IAT clinic in the Bahamas.
AIM @ Wellness Program
Breast Wishes Fund’s core prevention and education program is AIM @ Wellness. A@W is an educational community experience that is simultaneously fun and informative for college-aged students and adults. A@W offers information to increase awareness around healthy choices for food, body and beauty care products, and environmental toxins.
AIM @ WELLNESS MISSION
The mission of Aim @ Wellness (A@W) is to offer tools for participants to feel great right now and significantly reduce future cancer diagnoses for the next generation.
AIM @ WELLNESS OBJECTIVES
• Offer healthy choices and a variety of substitutions.
• Introduce local/national wellness products and practitioners to students.
• Network health care professional communities.
• Create nurturing body, mind, and spirit support relationships.
• Track and provide research data on long-term behavior modification and cancer rates.
• Provide choices for breast cancer treatment and prevention education.
AIM @ WELLNESS AUDIENCE
A@W supports the needs of high school and college students. In the USA, A@W engages sororities at universities as the ideal partners for networking, research tracking of young women and alumni, and exponential exposure though is available to schools without a Greek system also. Each year, new locations are added to the program, while flagship schools maintain engagement. Planned events include music festivals such as South By Southwest, Bonnaroo and Coachella, which extend the number of young people, reached exponentially.
AIM @ WELLNESS EVENT
Participants explore different wellness stations, including free treatments and consultations with health care professionals, introducing students to national and their local wellness communities for continued support after the A@W event. Many stations include free samples of quality, non-toxic nutrition, health, and beauty products from both local and national partners. A@W’s signature Body Art Booth, where women can create beautiful art, is an inviting way for participants to make a positive connection with their bodies. Stations could include:
organic cosmetic makeovers, Vitamin D education, friendly foods, paraben & phthalate-free face and body care products, art therapy, non-toxic manicures, Qi Gong and yoga, chemical free environment, lymphatic system, women’s health, massage & stress reduction, Ayurvedic consultations, healthy breast education and related original videos.
BREAST WISHES FUND’S ROLE WITH A@W
Breast Wishes Fund provides guidance and oversight for the health event. BWF’s main goal is to create a fun, enriching celebration of local community wellness and every day, empowerment based disease prevention solutions. The grand event is modified and personalized to meet the needs of each hosting campus, school, or community venue.
A@W RELATIONSHIPS & FINDINGS
AIM @ Wellness nurtures networking health care and holistic cancer professionals, national/local natural body care, lifestyle and superfood companies with young adults. It’s a fun and creative way to help integrate new habits and healthful products into students lives, leading to a sustained local connection and long-lasting support. The energetic, nurturing and healthy environment takes the “scare” out of cancer prevention and provides solutions and substitutions for physical, mental and emotional evolution.
THE FUTURE AND BEYOND
Breast Wishes Fund plans to expand A@W throughout the USA and international college campuses. Partnering in the UK with Neal’s Yard Remedies where they have a presence will offer AIM @ Wellness societies local health care professional events and support. A smaller program in the major cities of India in conjunction with International Women’s Day is also in the works.
AIM @ Wellness will open the door to a Week to Wellness. This comprehensive program takes the fundamentals from the 1-day event straight to the sorority houses, classrooms and kitchens. Attendees will learn more about cooking healthy foods, targeted wellness activities, and living in a toxic-free environment. Participants engage in daily activities, share their stories and journal their accomplishments with a competitive program for the sororities and team sports.
As A@W grows through repeated visits, AIM @ Wellness chapters and societies will form, establishing on-going education and engagement events throughout the year.
Please visit this link to view a short film from the University of New Mexico’s A@W event. Screenings of “the ME film” will become an integral component of A@W’s programming in 2018. Nationwide screening events for 2018’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month will capitalize on Breast Wishes Founder, Lexie Shabel, living her trailblazing choices with cancer for 11 years. Highlighting BWF’s brand line, “Give US Choices”, a YouTube upload campaign will involve people internationally to share their choices with their breast cancer and prevention of disease.
Events are produced through financial and in-kind contributions and partnering with local and national companies and health care professionals. Advertising options offer massive visibility to college campuses and high schools. The program also engages community volunteers to participate with set-up, production and follow-up as guided by Breast Wishes Fund.