In 1993, several women channeled their personal experience with breast cancer into the first support group in Austin. Confronted with crisis, these women came together in the Women's Resource Center of St. David's Hospital to meld their respective knowledge and insight, and lighten the burden of this devastating disease.
By the end of the second meeting, the founding members - Sherry Smith, Anne Lawlor, Carol Wilson, Lara Balla RN, Sarah Janosik LCSW, Doris Coward PhD, RN and Merily Keller - understood this experience was too valuable, and the benefits too rich, to keep to themselves. Fully grasping the importance of being an active participant in their own healthcare, they sought to empower others - and BCRC was born.
What began as a volunteer organization has become a staff of 12 professionals including 6 patient navigators certified at the renowned Harold P. Freeman Institute, and who are well-versed in local, regional and national resources, and who participate in extensive ongoing training.
What began as a single, generalized support group has grown into 11 specialized groups including those for newly diagnosed, Spanish speakers, women of child bearing age, and women with metastatic disease. Office space remains generously donated and has expanded from one to five locations co-located in 5 area hospitals. All services remain free of charge for the client.
Looking forward, BCRC seeks to extend its reach to meet the growing complexity of needs and expand our service delivery area to better meet the multi-faceted needs of minority, low-income, uninsured, and medically underserved women in Central Texas. We further seek to expand the services we offer to caregivers and loved ones.
This means hiring additional patient navigators, training more volunteers through the As Sisters program to augment patient navigation, and growing our financial base to ensure our ability to respond to requests for assistance. As it has for more than a decade and a half, BCRC will continue to exist so no one has to face breast cancer alone.