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WWC Spotlight Series: Shaney Jo Darden

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

Through our Wise Women Collective, we spotlight women whom we admire and who inspire.

Meet Shaney Jo Darden, Founder and COO of the Keep A Breast Foundation. An organization built to teach young people about the care and prevention of breast cancer. We highlight her today, on the first day of October which marks the start of Breast Cancer Awareness month.

OB: Can you tell us about the KABF mission and what it means to you?

SJ: Our mission is to reduce breast cancer risk and its impact globally through art, education, prevention, and action.

Our mission is personal to me because I founded Keep A Breast over 21 years ago after a friend, who was in her 20’s, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since the beginning, Keep A Breast has made connections with younger generations about breast health through music, art, skate, and surf culture. We meet young people where they are and we empower them with the education to help them be their own, best health advocates.

OB: Since KABF’s intention is advocacy and outreach, particularly among young women, can you tell us how your mission is accomplished?

SJ: It started with the awareness that breast cancer doesn’t just happen after we turn 40. That was the message young people were getting, not to think about it until a doctor recommends mammograms. It’s grown into so much more. Our original intention of awareness around breast cancer in young people grew into helping them establish a positive relationship with their breasts, that isn’t rooted in any shame, so they know their body and know when something is wrong. So we created our Check Yourself! Program, and the Keep A Breast App to give young people (or anyone!) the tools to do their monthly self-check and have access to virtual health professionals that will be there to support them. Then the awareness turned into an urgent need for prevention, so we created Non Toxic Revolution and Fit 4 Prevention to address ways breast cancer can form outside of the 10-15% of diagnosis that come from genes and family history. Whether it’s online or in person, we give young people the tools to be their own health advocate and lower their risk of breast cancer through education and action, and we partner with organizations that are challenging and changing the regulations of toxic products.

OB: Can you talk about the statistics on women in the US with a history of breast cancer compared to women globally?

SJ: Over 300,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States each year. Approximately 12,000 of those diagnosed are under the age of 40. When breast cancer is detected early (in the localized stage) the 5-year survival rate is 98% (National Cancer Institute).