In 2001, MJ DeCoteau started Rethink Breast Cancer, an organization aimed at educating young women about breast cancer, because she was worried about her own risk factors – she lost her mom to the disease. When she looked into getting involved in existing organizations, all the pamphlets and campaigns were covered in pictures of older women. “There was a light bulb moment that there was this movement out there, but young women weren’t really involved in that movement,” says DeCoteau.
Her awareness initiative was received, but it began to evolve when young women who were dealing with the diagnosis began reaching out, needing the support of others in their demographic. When it comes to breast cancer, early detection can be a factor in patient outcomes, so spreading awareness when women are young can literally be a lifesaver.