Director of Education & Marketing
In December 2003, five days after turning 34, Heike was diagnosed with breast cancer. Heike was young and active, had three children under two and no family history of breast cancer. She wasn’t in any of the traditional “high-risk” categories and discovered her lump while nursing her daughter. Heike’s experience inspired her to create CanCan so that all women are educated about the importance of breast health. When Heike is not dealing with boobies, Heike spends her time with her three children and husband.
Kayla is the Program Manager for the Rivkin Center and is responsible for overseeing the CanCan education program. Kayla was first introduced to CanCan through her sorority at Washington State University. After graduation, Kayla went on to complete an AmeriCorps Service Year, where she found her passion for the non-profit sector. After witnessing two of her beloved aunts, Peggy and Cathy, fight breast and ovarian cancer with courage and strength, she saw first hand the critical need to educate on ovarian and breast cancer together. As a result, Kayla is extremely dedicated to the mission of the Rivkin Center, Women’s Lives Our Passion, and the focus of the CanCan program, putting women into action over their own health so they are more in control and less in fear of cancer.
Kim has been teaching breast health for over 20 years and has been involved with a lot of the breast health outreach, activities and events both in and out of Washington State. Some of the non-profit companies she has worked closely with either as an employee or volunteer include: CanCan, Evergreen Hospital Community Health Education, American Cancer Society, The Washington State Breast, Cervical and Colon Health Program, the Puget Sound Affiliate Susan G. Komen for The Cure , Citrine Health, and Cancer Lifeline. Kim has been instrumental in developing the breast health education curriculum for CanCan. Her philosophy is “If we can laugh about it we can learn about it”.
Becoming a breast health instructor for CanCan has brought Claudia’s work full circle. Claudia has been a dance movement specialist for over 25 years and teaches a specialized movement and exercise program to breast cancer and other cancer survivors.
Elizabeth, PT, PA-C, BCC, is a certified life coach, wellness educator and community developer. She started her health career in physical therapy, then trained in primary care medicine, surgery and rehabilitation medicine. She now works with teens, young adults, physicians and emerging and established leaders in diverse professions and organizations, with a strong interest in keeping women healthy.
As the Fitness and Wellness Director at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center Vicki’s primary objective is to design wellness programs that address the needs of her community. In 2012 Vicki designed a post operative breast cancer exercise program. As an instructor working with patients every day, Vicki is well aware of the complications derived from breast cancer.
In December 2015, knowing the benefits of 3D imagining Vicki was able to switch her annual mammogram from the standard to 3D. It was during this exam when her breast cancer was discovered. She was diagnosed with Invasive Lobular Carcinoma – a slow growing and ghost like type of breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy followed by an auxiliary dissection removing at total of 20 lymph nodes. In addition to her surgeries she had 4 rounds of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation. Although there were a few slower days, Vicki was determined to continue her very active lifestyle. She managed to bike back and forth to chemo and radiation, ski 13 days, snow shoe, rock climb, golf, and boogie board during her 6 months of treatment.
Vick is certified through the American College of Sports Medicine holding 4 certifications – Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer, Exercise is Medicine, Health Fitness Director, and Exercise Physiologist. She is also a certified Breast Cancer Exercise Trainer through the Pink Ribbon Program, and is a Breast Health Instructor and Survivor for CanCan Health.
Ovarian and Breast Cancer Survivor Facilitators
Kristin, a BRCA1 mutation carrier, was diagnosed with aggressive triple negative breast cancer just one week after her 28th birthday. Fortunately, Kristin’s case was caught very early, and a treatment regimen of chemotherapy and surgery left her disease free. Kristin merged her graduate education in immunology with her passion for advancing cancer therapy and now works at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to develop immunotherapy treatments for ovarian cancer patients. She joined the CanCan team to raise awareness about the value of early detection and to empower others to be confident self-advocates with respect to healthcare.
Lynn has been an educator for 30 years serving students with learning disabilities and disorders as well as involved with student leadership on the local and state levels. In February 2015, Lynn was diagnosed with Stage III Ovarian Cancer. Just months into treatment, Lynn made the decision to seek out a program to combine both her teaching and leadership skills where she could provide other women with the tools to recognize the signs and symptoms she missed. Through the Rivkin Center, she was introduced to CanCan and is on her way to live her favorite quote, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” Maya Angelou
Michelle was diagnosed with stage 0 (ductal carcinoma in situ) breast cancer at the age of 37. Her breast cancer was detected through early mammogram screening, which she advocated for because of her family history. Her great aunt passed away from breast cancer and her mother is also a breast cancer survivor. Michelle is grateful that early detection saved her life and she hopes that her story will help other women know the importance of their family history and take a proactive approach to their healthcare.
Helen was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27. Her research focus has always been HIV, but after her diagnosis, she was fortunate to find a job working in breast cancer research at Cancer Prevention Institute of California. Working with CanCan seemed like a natural fit since she found her malignant lump while doing a self-breast examination. Fortunately, her mother suggested she consult the doctor who diagnosed her with Stage 1 breast cancer.
Emily was breastfeeding her five-month-old daughter for the last time; two hours later she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 32. Emily, a BRCA1 gene carrier, finished her treatment in 2007, and gives back through CanCan and The SCAR Project, which she is featured in. You can learn more at www.scarproject.org. Emily feels empowered by working to educate others about the risks of breast cancer and to bring awareness about the realities of the disease.
Katrina is an eight-year, three-time survivor of breast cancer. Her mother and aunt had breast cancer, her sister is a four-year survivor and a cousin has been in ongoing treatment for the past three years. She is the mother of four children (two biological and two adopted). She taught herself how to work, repair and build computers in the early 70’s and ran a computer lab for a non-profit for many years. She is a peer counselor for other breast cancer survivors. And like the hurricane she loves being forceful in telling women to get their mammograms.
Michelle is a breast cancer survivor of five years. She found her cancer at age 44 through mammography, and luckily, it was still in 0 stage. She received a lumpectomy and eight weeks of radiation and became a yoga and mat Pilates instructor.
Jamaica Baldwin was 37-years-old and living in Manhattan with a great job and great friends when she was diagnosed with stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in Situ. The news came as quite a shock seeing as there was no history of breast cancer in her family. She was also the first among her friends to have breast cancer, which led to a very isolating experience even with all the support that came her way. She eventually moved back to Seattle to be closer to family and finish her treatment. Although she wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone, she is grateful for the doors it has opened for her, or perhaps, she says, the doors were always open, she’s just now finally able to see them. Jamaica is proud to be working with CanCan and grateful for the opportunity to help young women connect with their bodies and be proactive in their own health. In addition to CanCan, Jamaica works part time as Program Manager for Team Survivor Northwest, a non-profit organization that provides fitness programs for women survivors of cancer, and is an MFA candidate in Poetry at Pacific University, Oregon.
Heather was diagnosed with breast cancer at 41. She is a mother of two beautiful boys, ages 6 and 2. After nursing her oldest for almost three years, she was surprised by the problems she had nursing Chase his first 6 months. In January of 2008, when Chase was six months old, she found her lump while rubbing out recurrent plugged milk ducts. After weeks of research and a crash course in cancer study, Heather was happy to learn that while her cancer was invasive, it was slow growing and non-aggressive in form. She had a lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy. The support that came pouring in during her cancer journey has fueled her to give back as often as she can. She’s walked the Komen 3-Day walk, loving her time with CanCan and enjoying all the playful adventures that two young boys bring to her life.
Kristin House was diagnosed with Stage 2+ breast cancer 2 months after her 38th birthday. At that time she was a single parent of nine-year-old Henry. She had a long, rigorous course of treatments including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and breast reconstruction.
During her early her treatments, Kristin said she would ‘kick cancer to the curb’ and she did. Now seven+ years past her diagnosis and treatment, she is healthy and active. She works as a Paralegal, has her own small clothing design business and is raising a teenager!
Kristin works with CanCan to educate and inspire, to dispel the myth and fears about breast cancer and, most importantly, to support women of all ages to know their bodies, be their own best advocates in all ways, including healthcare and finding life balance.
Julie was diagnosed with breast cancer two months after her 40th birthday. By the time her cancer was found, it had already spread to her bones so she was diagnosed initially at Stage IV. Despite that diagnosis, Julie decided to fight the cancer with everything possible and take an aggressive course of treatment including chemo, surgery, radiation and hormone therapy. Six years later, Julie is now cancer-free, though continuing to take treatments to reduce any future risk of reoccurrence. Giving back and helping other women with information is one small way to repay the universe for all of the incredible gifts she feels lucky to have received.
Nancy was 35 years old and the mom of two boys, ages 5 and 6 ½, when she was diagnosed in December of 2007 after finding her own lumps. With a common but more aggressive form of breast cancer she underwent several months of treatments including chemo, mastectomy and radiation, and like many women, had no family history. Her goal is to educate others on breast cancer health and remind everyone to enjoy life and appreciate its treasures.
Stacy is a Bay Area native and health education advocate. In her 27- year career, she’s worked as a communicable disease intervention specialist, wellness coach, and now as a training coordinator for homecare providers. Her mother lost her battle with breast cancer at age 48. Starting at age 30, Stacy began annual mammograms and hoped to make it to her 50th birthday, breast cancer-free. However, in 2012, at age 49, Stacy was diagnosed by “routine” mammogram and lumpectomy with Stage O breast cancer. Fueled by her mother’s legacy and with the support of family, friends, and an amazing medical team, she chose to undergo BRACA testing, bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. Stacy believes every person’s journey is their own. Her mantra, “knowledge is power” inspires her to educate and support others to know their options making their health decisions with information, confidence and grace.
In 2008, Ilyse attended a CanCan party and began performing monthly self- exams. Three years later, at age 41, despite having no family history, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She continued to work full time at Microsoft, raise three children, and run a half marathon while undergoing a unilateral mastectomy, six months of chemotherapy and three reconstructive surgeries. She credits her current good health to early detection, and wants to educate other women so that they can have the opportunity for the same successful outcome.
Tanya was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39 in 2005. She was the first in her family and was very surprised considering she had three children, breast fed, didn’t drink or smoke and was in otherwise excellent health. Tanya’s breast cancer treatment included eight rounds of chemo and five surgeries, in 13 months. She was determined not to be interrupted in her world and because of a wonderful community of family and friends she wasn’t. Her experience was life-changing but not sad, bitter or fearful and she went on to be even healthier than before. Tanya got involved with CanCan because she wanted to help get good information out to all women. She started facilitating classes even before her treatment was over.
When Jeanna turned 40 she was determined to walk her first Susan G. Komen 60 mile 3day in honor of her Grandmother who passed away from breast cancer. Within 2 weeks of completing the walk, during a self-exam she found that something didn’t feel “right” in her left breast. At her annual doctor appointment, her doctor felt the lump that she was feeling and sent her right away for a mammogram which was immediately followed by a biopsy. On Halloween, 2012 while in the middle of a 3rd grade class party for one of her sons, she got the call that no one ever wants to get ~ the biopsy came back positive for breast cancer. Luckily it was found early enough for her to be a candidate for a lumpectomy and with her negative BRCA testing and low scoring “oncotype” testing, she escaped the devastation of chemotherapy. She completed 8 weeks of radiation and is now receiving hormone therapy. She has since been very vocal in her local community, especially within her boys’ schools (now ages 10 & 13) sharing how imperative early detection is and urging women to have their mammograms AND to do regular self breast exams. She’s excited and grateful to be a part of CanCan, inspired to spread the word about early detection and to empower women with valuable, life-saving information.
University of Oregon
Morgan is a junior at the University of Oregon. She is majoring in Journalism with a focus in Public Relations and minoring in Business. She is originally from Seattle and had her aunt, one of her best friend’s mother and a former nanny all diagnosed with breast cancer within 2 weeks of each other, making this a very important and personal cause. She loves hiking and exploring all the outdoor spaces Eugene has to offer when she is not re-watching How I Met Your Mother for the fourth time or searching for the world’s best eggs Benedict.
Sally is a third-year undergraduate at UCLA pursuing a degree in Human Biology and Society. She is interested in entering the field of medicine—particularly women’s health— and is excited to become involved in an organization that empowers women through health education. Sally particularly looks forward to engaging with her fellow UCLA students and their families, as well as encouraging them to take action about their health. Outside of CanCan, Sally is deeply involved in the UCLA Korean cultural community, various health volunteer groups, and social science research. In her free time, she loves to cook and experiment with new recipes, as well as work out at the gym. Go Bruins!
University of Washington
Amanda is a sophomore at the University of Washington pursuing a degree in Business Administration with intended focuses in finance and supply chain management. She has a passion for spreading awareness about breast and ovarian health, as her mother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. In her free time, Amanda enjoys skiing, taking photographs, and spending time with family and friends.
University of Arizona
Jessie is currently a junior at the University of Arizona. She is majoring in Public Health and Minoring in Special Education with an Emphasis in Deaf Studies. Jessie first heard about CanCan while attending a party on campus. Having grown up in a family where cancer was rarely talked about, she immediately fell in love with CanCan’s mission. Jessie truly believes that knowledge is the best preventative measure. She looks forward to educating a diverse audience at the University of Arizona on the importance of prevention and early detection through self-advocacy and awareness. In her free time, Jessie enjoys working out, traveling and watching Netflix.
Washington State University
Bella is a junior at Washington State University majoring in Biology with a minor in Psychology. This past year breast cancer greatly impacted her family when her grandfather was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer which motivated Bella to become an advocate in taking care of one’s own health. She is looking forward to working as an ambassador this year to educate her fellow Cougs on breast cancer awareness and provide them with the education to support their health. Whenever Bella isn’t working or studying she enjoys camping and surrounding herself with friends and family.
Carleigh is a third-year student at UCLA pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Human Biology and Society. Following her undergraduate education, she aspires to combine her passions of working with kids and fighting cancer as a pediatric oncologist. As a freshman at UCLA, Carleigh fell in love with CanCan’s mission at her very first CanCan Health party. In CanCan, she found a community of caring and motivated individuals who share her devotion to creating a world with less breast and ovarian cancer. She is motivated in this mission by her mother, who fiercely battled breast cancer, and by all current patients and survivors. Outside of academic and research interests, she enjoys working as a student teacher with UCLA Early Care and Education and advocating for women’s leadership with Bruin Belles Service Association. Carleigh is thrilled to be a part of the CanCan Health team and looks forward to educating and empowering her fellow UCLA bruins and their families.