October is widely recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But awareness without action does little to help. In Great Falls, a nonprofit called Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) is working not only to raise awareness about the disease, but to empower women with the tools to prevent, understand, and overcome breast cancer.
“Knowledge is power,” says Hope Good, founder of BCA (and publisher of Treasure State Lifestyles).
As a breast cancer survivor, Hope started BCA with the goal of helping others navigate breast cancer treatment.
“There are a lot of big, clinical words that get thrown out at you when you first get cancer,” she explains. “If you don’t understand any of it, how can you know if you’re making the right choices?”
BCA publishes free educational booklets that are designed to be accessible to everyone, in terms that anyone can understand. Similar materials can seem overwhelming, with excessive text, too much medical jargon, or sterile imagery. BCA’s booklet is factual but hopeful as well, with pictures of smiling survivors and inspirational quotes throughout.
Since 2015, BCA has published these complimentary booklets and distributed them throughout Great Falls and the surrounding region. Hope has put on various fundraisers over the years, often working with other nonprofits to raise money for the cause.
October 2, 2021 marked the first fundraiser where BCA stood on its own, at the First Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Art Gala Fundraiser.
Held at the Great Falls International Airport Event and Conference Center, the fundraiser included both live and silent auctions, with a Quick Finish, featuring five artists from across Montana—Steve Lillegard, Diana Roen, JW Krantz, Sherry Tuss, and Cathryn McIntyre (Reitler). Artists worked quickly against the clock, each producing an original masterpiece to be submitted in the live auction. Notably, McIntyre painted on a canvas made of stitched together bras and other materials. Alissa Kuka, a breast cancer survivor who underwent reconstructive surgery, modeled for the piece.
“It is a powerful piece of art,” says Hope.
This painting, along with the other Quick Finish pieces, were auctioned off with 35 other works of art.
In the end, the event raised even more money than Hope had projected.
“It was a great success,” Hope beams.
She looks forward to the Second Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Art Gala Fundraiser on October 15, 2022.
BCA booklets are available for free at the Northwest Albertsons and the Great Falls Clinic Oncology Department. (Distribution has been scaled down due to COVID-19.)
If you would like copies for yourself or your business, call (406) 868-9649.