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Meet the Founders

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Champagne Joy | (1967 - 2017) Founder 

Champagne Joy of Yonkers, NY passed away suddenly on March 27, 2017 at the age of 49. She is survived by her loving husband Michael Hall, her mother Grace Speare Shapiro, her sister Luana Walther, her brother-in-law Edward Walther and her beloved nephews Blake and Julian. Champagne will be sorely missed by her family, numerous friends, the Metastatic Breast Cancer community and all that had the honor of knowing her.

Champagne was a blue-haired wonder / internet phenom with a heart of gold and the tagline "the least interesting thing about me is that I have cancer." Champagne had the hubris to face her terminus with a bucket list of changing the world, redefining breast cancer and saving all the passengers on this Titanic, doing so openly and naked for the world to see. Former child actress, paralegal, bartender, filmmaker, and #Cancerland founder, this fearless leader used her matchmaker skills to bring diagnosed women together in love and support for one another right up until moments before her death. Champagne was a tireless advocate for Metastatic Breast Cancer research and legislative changes to the treatment of men and women living with metastatic disease. Champagne was heralded by Nerdist Chris Hardwick as a dragon-slayer and Modern Family's Julie Bowen as a tough act to follow. Champagne's organization, #Cancerland, is dedicated to helping other patients (and those who care for them) to navigate the difficult and often devastating cancer diagnosis and treatment processes. Started as a hashtag and online community for women with metastatic breast cancer to find each other, talk openly about their specific set of challenges and harness each of their own networks to support one another, #Cancerland now is a nationally known advocacy group and fundraising organization for people with advanced breast cancer. During this year's New York Fashion Week, #Cancerland, together with lingerie company AnaOno Intimates, hosted an internationally acclaimed fashion show that, for the first time ever, featured designs created for and modeled by women with varying stages of breast cancer. Press coverage surrounding the event was widespread, international and viral.

After the death of our fearless, friend and founder Champagne Joy, the original #Cancerland organization folded as resources were limited. In 2020, an effort to honor their long-time friend and cohort Champagne, Beth Fairchild & Rachel Burns decided to pick up the torch and move forward. 

Beth Fairchild | Co-Founder and President

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Beth Fairchild is an artist, activist, and yogi, living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Beth’s MBC diagnosis in 2014 (ER/PR+, HER2-Lobular Carcinoma, with mets to the bones, liver, and reproductive organs). It came as a shock, as she had never experienced a palpable lump in her breast and had undergone a mammogram one week prior with negative results. Following her de novo diagnosis, Beth was surprised to learn that the MBC community was particularly underrepresented and that MBC research was pitifully underfunded. She started a virtual protest that turned into a social media movement to raise awareness for MBC using the hashtag #DontIgnoreStageIV, which connected her to METAvivor. Beth served on the Board of Directors at METAvivor, then as Vice President, and finally three additional years as President of the organization before stepping down to pursue other avenues in advocacy. Beth worked as a professional tattoo artist who specialized in permanent cosmetics and areola complex tattooing for women and men who experienced breast surgery or other trauma to the chest but has since stopped working due to peripheral neuropathy as a result of chemotherapy. Since her forced retirement, Beth spends time advocating and supporting other women and men living with breast cancer, as well as spending time on her yoga mat, enjoying healthy eats, traveling, the outdoors, gardening, crocheting, and spending time with her family. @bethfairchild

Read more at bethfairchild.com

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Rachel Burns | Co-Founder and Vice President

Rachel Burns is a singer/songwriter, artist, and activist as well as a Stage 3 breast cancer survivor. Rachel’s diagnosis was in 2013 (ER/PR+) and she went through 9 months of treatment including chemotherapy, double mastectomy, and radiation. She has subsequently had a total hysterectomy after her initial treatment as a preventative and as a result from side effects of treatment. Rachel met Beth Fairchild after her diagnosis in 2014, and after meeting Beth, became inspired to support and advocate for her fellow Stage IV patients. Rachel advocated for research and started a yearly concert, “Live from Stage IV” enabling patients and thrivers with cancer to sing live on stage with bands at concerts in Washington, DC. Rachel got her degree in Classical Vocal Performance at New England Conservatory of Music and worked as a top producing Realtor for 25 years-managing her own business and attending to her clients’ needs. The demanding schedule of real estate and continued health issues led Rachel to prioritize her time which led to leaving real estate and focusing on being a Mom to her two daughters and launching herself back into music full time-writing music and singing. Rachel advocates for women with breast cancer through music and art. She also loves traveling, cooking vegetarian food, staring at the stars, birdwatching, renovating homes, and spending time with family and friends. @rachelburnsmusic

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Timothy Burns | Board Member

Timothy Burns is a musician, artist and co-survivor. He is the husband to Rachel Burns and was by her side throughout her diagnosis, treatment, and cancer’s aftermath. Timothy was a teacher for over 20 years, teaching art, philosophy and technology to grades from preschool-12th grade. Timothy taught in schools in Boston, Washington, DC and McLean, VA, and ultimately started his own STEM Lego robotics summer camp, Fun Bot Lab, in Northern Virginia. Timothy oversaw dozens of employees and taught hundreds of kids every summer. Timothy is now helping launch STEM programs in Uganda, Africa. Timothy graduated from Boston College with a BA in Art and a MA in Philosophy. Along with being a supportive partner and husband to Rachel, he loves spending time with their two daughters, playing hockey, being on the water, oil painting, renovating homes, playing bass and spending time with his family and friends.

Allison Howard | Board Member

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Allison Howard is an American producer, director, videographer, and photographer. Throughout her decades-long career, she has focused on telling intimate, authentic stories as a “fly on the wall” in trauma centers, police departments, and living rooms, telling vivid stories that have captivated audiences around the world. Since 2017, Allison has been the media chair on the board of directors for #CancerCulture, formerly #Cancerland, a 501(c)(3) charity. #CancerCulture is a multi-media platform focused on shifting the way you think about breast cancer through art, culture, and equitable development.

Allison has produced impactful and educational video content for #Cancerland as well as for METAvivor.org, an organization focused on metastatic breast cancer research, support, and awareness. #Cancerland and METAvivor have collaborated with Eisai Pharmaceuticals on their #ThisIsMBC campaign since 2017, with Allison overseeing production of the video portion of the project. 
Allison attended Union College in Schenectady, New York, where she earned her B.A. in art. She currently resides in Upstate New York. In her spare time, Allison enjoys traveling and taking photographs. Her photography work can be seen on Instagram @Alicat6.

 

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Cheryl Law | Board Member

Is a physician who lives in Birmingham, AL. She was diagnosed with breast cancer soon after having her 3rd child in 2018. The following year her cancer metastasized to her brain, making her a member of the Stage IV breast cancer community. Following surgery to remove the brain tumor, she has had excellent disease control. Cheryl enjoys time with her husband and three children, and

is excited to incorporate her medical and patient perspectives in her

advocacy efforts. 

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Kate Crawford | Board Member - Resigned

Is a patient-centered health advocate, writer, mom and wife living with metastatic breast cancer. Kate has been in the medical field since she was a teenager when she became a certified emergency medical technician and firefighter. Kate co-founded a nonprofit, Project Sweet Peas, after the death of her newborn daughter and subsequent children all needing to be in intensive care after birth where she fell in love with health advocacy work. She served

as President, CEO and now as a board advisor.  

 

At 28, with 3 toddlers at home, she was diagnosed with HER2+ Invasive Ductal breast cancer with metastasis completely covering her liver, pelvis, spine and spreading through other bones. She was diagnosed with a rare cancer-causing genetic mutation known as Li-Fraumeni Syndrome that leaves her susceptible

to multiple cancers. She started a Facebook group for young women living with metastatic breast cancer to share their unique challenges where she first met Beth Fairchild. Over the years, Kate has worked with Beth on many projects including the first virtual MBC advocacy campaign. After her diagnosis, Kate created a “Mommy Bucket List” that went viral where she and her family work

to create special memories that will outlive cancer.

 

She shares openly about her struggles in motherhood and living with an incurable disease across many online platforms. Kate was nearly finished with her degree in Business Management with a Social Media Marketing focus when she realized that she wanted to do more with patient advocacy. Kate is now working towards her Healthcare Management degree with a Patient Navigator focus. As of 2022, Kate has been living with MBC for almost ten years, has had over 150 cancer treatments, numerous surgeries, including a double mastectomy with aesthetic flat closure and lives with the many side effects from being an outlier with this disease. Kate resides south of Pittsburgh with her family, where they enjoy crossing things off her bucket list, rescuing animals, going on adventures and listening to music as loud as they can.

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