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It all started with a Rocky-like idea. In 2000, Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) CEO Jean Sachs met yoga instructor Jennifer Shelter and one of her students, who had a terrific idea: why not do a special yoga class in support of women with breast cancer on Philadelphia’s iconic Art Museum steps?
The unique concept rang true to the community-building goals of LBBC, which works tirelessly to ensure that no one facing breast cancer feels uninformed or alone. By engaging in a yoga class, rather than a walk or run, everyone would be moving together—listening and breathing, at times linking arms or supporting each other in a pose. Their hearts would be turned toward each other rather than a finish line. Participants would experience a special transcendent unity, distinguishing what would become Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Reach & Raise in the realm of charity events. Moreover, by creating a unique opportunity to experience yoga for the first time, the event would introduce people affected by breast cancer to an excellent wellness strategy, with documented benefits to mental and physical well-being.
From the start, the event was a hit, bringing together hundreds and eventually thousands to support each other and their community, while raising significant funds and awareness for LBBC’s programs and services. Yoga soon became an integral part of LBBC; our popular Guide to Understanding Yoga and Breast Cancer is available online, and every national conference features a yoga class open to all who attend.
LBBC’s Reach & Raise has expanded to Denver, Ft. Myers, Florida, Kansas City, Memphis and Washington D.C.—and there are more cities on the horizon.
Thus far, tens of thousands have participated in Reach & Raise, raising close to $2.5 million to support LBBC and in the process building communities of support for individuals impacted by breast cancer. It is our hope that all Reach & Raise participants will create their own meaningful stories.