Co-Founder, Male Breast Cancer Coalition
Eight years ago, Cheri Ambrose discovered that a close male friend was battling breast cancer. Aching for her friend’s self-imposed isolation, she embarked on a crusade to bring male breast cancer “out of the closet.” She joined forces with one of the first MBC organizations, The Blue Wave, to bring her message to the public in New Jersey, forging a partnership with Susan G. Komen North Jersey. Together they launched one of the first formalized Male Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns in the U.S. She then connected online with Peggy Eddy Miller in Kansas City, whose son Bret had found a lump in his breast at the age of 17. After seven years of misdiagnoses, his doctors finally determined that he had breast cancer. Bret had a mastectomy and went on to become a passionate and effective advocate, and the founder of the Bret Miller 1T Foundation. In 2013, Bret’s mother Peggy and Cheri launched the Male Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) as a virtual gathering place for men with breast cancer, and a source of information and guidance for navigating the often difficult journey of a male breast cancer diagnosis.
Over the past four years, they have connected with more than 300 male breast cancer survivors from around the world to assist the MBCC with building advocacy and furthering their awareness campaign. They have pulled together a diverse consortium of breast cancer organizations to carry their message around the globe that “men get breast cancer, too.” And this past October, here in the U.S., Cheri almost single-handedly succeeded in pursuing, and securing the support of governors from 35 states committed to helping spread awareness by designating the third week in October as “Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week (New Jersey and Massachusetts have made it permanent).
Our mission is to educate, enlighten and engage the world about male breast cancer by building awareness through the knowledge and experiences of survivors and experts. The MBCC is a global network of support, resources, news and information—and most of all, HELP—for men and their families facing a breast cancer diagnosis. In addition to presenting talks at forums and meetings around the country, our survivor representatives visit high schools and colleges sharing their “breast cancer journeys” and educating diverse audiences. Our survivors want students to know every individual is his/her own best advocate for their bodies. We participate in events around the world to raise awareness of male breast cancer. We attend conferences, so we can become more knowledgeable and advocate. We are working to educate everyone, including the medical community concerning the need for more testing and clinical trials focusing on men with breast cancer. We want people to be informed. We want them to know that breast cancer does not discriminate—and that “men have breasts, too."