Who We Are
Who would have imagined that a phone call between strangers would lead us to where we are today?
Cheri Ambrose of New Jersey was the founder of The Blue Wave, a local organization designed to spread awareness of MALE BREAST CANCER. She knew of six men who had survived breast cancer. Desperate for more information on MALE BREAST CANCER, Cheri took to the internet as so many of us do on a daily basis. She found the story of Bret Miller from Kansas City. Bret first discovered a lump in his breast at the age of 17, but for seven years all the doctors told him not to worry. When he was 24, Bret had a mastectomy. Since his Stage 1 MALE BREAST CANCER diagnosis, Bret made a promise to his surgeon vowing no man will ever feel alone when they hear the words, “You have breast cancer.”
Cheri connected with Peggy, Bret’s mother and administrator of The Bret Miller 1T Foundation, and the two women spent an hour on the phone sharing their frustrations and desires to help others dealing with MALE BREAST CANCER. They wanted to reach men and caregivers around the world, so Cheri and Bret formed The MALE BREAST CANCER Coalition in 2013. They formed their Board of Directors with Mark Welch, calling upon survivors, Vanessa Welch, Arnaldo Siva, & Marc Futterweit. They approached every MALE BREAST CANCER survivor they knew and began sharing stories on our website.
MBCC has been a family affair since day one. Bret’s brother Blake, a computer whiz and partner of Think Big Partners, designed the MBCC website. Bret’s dad Bob maintains the website daily while Peggy manages the site, fields calls and sets up local events.
It was at a Race For The Cure event that Cheri met Arnaldo, a MALE BREAST CANCER survivor, and his son-in-law Mark Spark Welch. Arnaldo and his daughter Vanessa, Mark’s wife, were both diagnosed with breast cancer and fought the disease simultaneously. Desperate for more information about MALE BREAST CANCER, Mark, a film, television and music producer, began working on a documentary to bring more men with breast cancer together. “Meeting Mark and having him share his vision was priceless,” recounts Cheri. Peggy and Cheri started setting up interviews with MALE BREAST CANCER survivors and Mark, with crew in tow, traveled to capture stories on camera. Vanessa, Mark, and Arnaldo are founding members of our Board of Directors.
Our discovery of Lori M. Berlin was the find of a lifetime for us. She became connected to MALE BREAST CANCER through a newly discovered cousin with triple negative metastatic breast cancer (TNBC). Lori produced a video about her cousin Bernard and later met Mark through a mutual colleague. Because of her chance connection with Bernard, and after learning both he and his daughter Amy had TNBC, Lori felt compelled to take the BRCA test. She never thought she’d be a carrier of the genetic mutation (even though she had a previous high-risk diagnosis for breast cancer), and was stunned to discover she was BRCA2 positive. That knowledge changed her life: She underwent a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and oophorectomy. Lori, with decades of experience in television and media, is also a producer and director of what has become our now ongoing series “Men Have Breasts Too.” She has been instrumental in establishing our organization’s social media following and has made contact with countless MALE BREAST CANCER survivors and their families throughout the world.
As Peggy always says, “Together we will change the world.”
Welcome to The Male Breast Cancer Coalition.
Bret, Cheri, Lori and Peggy
Founding Board of Directors
Vanessa Silva Welch, Arnaldo Silva, Marc Futterweit & Mark Welch