In the U.S. alone, women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than non-Jewish women. It’s imperative for our communities, both locally and around the world, to increase breast cancer education and resource awareness, as well as assistance for patients and survivors.
Our longtime partner agency, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), in partnership with Susan G. Komen, has provided support for women since 2004 through the Women’s Health Empowerment Program (WHEP).
WHEP works in Hungary and Bosnia-Herzegovina, focusing on early detection of breast cancer through public educational campaigns, empowering breast cancer survivors to become active leaders in their communities, and organizing community-based health days that provide free mammogram checkups for underserved women.
Bori Halom, a survivor and leader of Mellrákinfó Egyesület, a breast cancer support group in Hungary, has fostered a connection between 900 cancer patients and survivors on Facebook. This serves as a platform to advocate for better health care services for women, share personal stories and increase community awareness and camaraderie.
Stoja-Mira Simic, a breast cancer survivor from Bosnia-Herzegovina, recently participated in the Ninth Bosnia-Herzegovina Race for the Cure, organized by JDC and Susan G. Komen. She was proud to wear her pink survivor T-shirt and, together with 600 other survivors, give a human face to breast cancer, a disease which is still frequently not discussed in her country. “I felt sadness that there were so many of us [survivors], but also joy that I’d survived and that my life was saved. I’ll attend the race every year.”
JDC is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. Since 1914, JDC has exemplified that all Jews are responsible for one another and for improving the well-being of vulnerable people around the world. Today, JDC works in more than 70 countries and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and manmade disasters.
To learn more about the work of WHEP and JDC made possible by the support of the Jewish community, visit jdc.org.