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 the organization, which works tirelessly to ensure that no one facing breast cancer feels uninformed or alone. With everyone doing yoga simultaneously—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 pathway to trying yoga, the event would introduce people affected by breast cancer to an excellent wellness strategy, whose benefits to mental and physical well-being have been documented in research studies.
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. Yoga soon became an integral part of LBBC. Part of this learning is captured in LBBC’s popular “Yoga and Breast Cancer” guide. It is our hope that all Reach & Raise participants will create their own meaningful stories.
LBBC’s Reach & Raise has expanded to Denver, Ft. Myers, Florida, Kansas City and Washington D.C.—and there are more cities on the horizon.
Thus far, tens of thousands have participated in Reach & Raise, raising more than $2 million to support LBBC and in the process building communities of support for individuals impacted by breast cancer.
“[Jennifer’s] instruction makes everyone feel that their insecurities and doubts are normal and need to be faced with compassion and strength. That taking small steps will move you forward. I welcome everyone to join us, and experience first-hand, Jennifer’s gift of inspiration and hope.”
—Jean Sachs, CEO, Living Beyond Breast Cancer