There are various avenues to share your story as a form of advocacy. Should you choose to share your message via media relations, we provide sample letters below to get you started. These sample letters are written from the perspective of “Kelly Slynch”, a metastatic breast cancer patient advocating for increased awareness of the everyday experiences of metastatic breast cancer patients. Feel free to refer to and use the following samples when sending a letter to an editor or sending a media pitch for an interview.
The highlighted sections refer to the types of information mentioned in our Communicating Your Story worksheet that you should be including in your communications, if they apply. Be sure to edit the letter to reflect your own personal information and situation. While we have made these samples available as PDFs, if you choose to send your communications via email, the text should be written within the body of the email and not sent as an attachment.
Letter to the Editor: Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients Need to be Acknowledged
[Timely angle] Over the years, Breast Cancer Awareness Month has garnered much media attention, and that is to be commended. It is important to recognize this terrible disease and bring to light new information about treatments and supports for those living with it. [Identify issue] However, too often the messaging around breast cancer is focused solely on the “survivorship” aspect of the disease, and not on women like me, living with metastatic breast cancer. [Personal story] Now 54 years old, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (Stage IV) in June 2010. As someone living with metastatic breast cancer for a decade, it would be nice to recognize what survivorship looks like for others like me.
[Insight/point of clarification] Advocates have been calling on the Canadian government to officially declare October 13th as Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day – an opportune time to educate people on our unique journeys with this late-stage disease. Though this is not an officially recognized day, it is noted around the world and among some breast cancer patient associations in Canada.
[Facts and statistics] Every year, approximately 25,500 Canadians are diagnosed with breast cancer. At least three Canadian women receive their first breast cancer diagnosis of locally advanced or metastatic disease every day. Approximately 30 percent of those initially diagnosed with earlier stages of breast cancer later develop recurrent and/or metastatic disease. More awareness of this disease is certainly needed as survivorship for metastatic breast cancer patients is vastly different from survivorship for early-stage breast cancer patients.
[Include details to show that it is an issue that affects others breast cancer patients] The Canadian Breast Cancer Network advocates for and provides information specifically for metastatic breast cancer. Their recently published guide, ‘Metastatic Breast Cancer Handbook: A guide for individuals living with stage IV breast cancer’ provides information regarding metastatic breast cancer, existing and upcoming treatment options and their side effects, clinical trials, and complementary therapies to relieve stress and anxiety.
[Call-to-action/repeat the lesson or reason for letter] I encourage all readers to visit the Canadian Breast Cancer Network’s website (www.cbcn.ca) to educate themselves on metastatic breast cancer. [Proposed resolution] My hope is that as the public becomes more aware of metastatic breast cancer, Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day becomes officially recognized by Canada. [Impact of resolution/personal connection] Those of us living with this late-stage disease can often feel isolated from the greater breast cancer community and having this day officially recognized will help show that we are truly included in the breast cancer community.
Word Count: 345
[insert address and phone number at your discretion]
New year, new hope for local woman living with metastatic breast cancer
Hello Jane Editor,
[Timely news hook example] Monday, February 4th, is World Cancer Day, a critically important day to focus on those living with this devastating disease and share relevant information with your [readers/viewers]. For most Canadians, New Year’s resolutions involve personal health improvement goals, such as eating better or exercising more. Now nearing the end of January, for many of those Canadians, these resolutions are already slipping or being forgotten altogether. But for women living with metastatic breast cancer, like me, eating well and exercising is not just a New Year’s resolution – it’s integral to prolonging my survival.
[Facts and statistics] Every year, approximately 25,500 Canadians are diagnosed with breast cancer. At least three Canadian women receive their first breast cancer diagnosis of locally advanced or metastatic disease every day. Approximately 30 percent of those initially diagnosed with earlier stages of breast cancer later develop recurrent and/or metastatic disease.
[Personal story] Now 54 years old, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (Stage IV) in June 2010. As a mother and a new grandmother, I look forward to spending as much time with my loved ones as possible. And this summer, I’ll be traveling across the U.S. and Canada with my family, visiting iconic landmarks I’ve never seen before – like Niagara Falls.
[Personal connection] For women like me, a new year brings new hope. New treatments are available to help extend the number of sunrises, road trips, laughs and hugs with family members – an important New Year’s resolution to keep. Highlighting our stories is vital for the continued education of the Canadian public, given that metastatic breast cancer is rarely discussed within the larger breast cancer awareness movement.
[Contact for interview] I would gladly share more information about this important cause with you. [Proposed resolution and call-to-action] My goal is to bring more awareness to the challenges faced by individuals like myself who are living with metastatic breast cancer by encouraging others to share their story. Please advise if you would be interested in discussing this further and arranging an interview to share my story to support others affected by metastatic breast cancer and raise awareness of our unique needs.