BRA (Breast cancer Recovery in Action) Uplifts Survivors & Fosters Community
BRA (Breast cancer Recovery in Action) is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering survivors of breast cancer and creating inclusive communities – for free.
BRA Co-Founder and Regional Director Namaste Anderson has lived in Middle Tennessee for over 17 years and is passionate about BRA’s mission.
“Our mission is to empower those who have breast cancer to grow in strength, resilience, and joy,” says Anderson. “BRA is more than an organization, it’s a community of support and resources. We work directly with anyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer – whether they just found out, are in the middle of chemo, or have finished their treatments.”
BRA was founded by three breast cancer survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The three of us felt passionately about providing support and community to those who had been diagnosed with breast cancer,” explains Anderson. “Most of the organizations that we had been working with shut down during COVID and we thought to ourselves, ‘Cancer didn’t shut down and these people still need resources. How can we provide these resources to them?’ That’s what we set out to do.”
BRA started out by providing services in four locations and has since expanded to eleven locations.
“There is a need,” says Anderson. “We always try to have a virtual option for our events and our goal is to have groups everywhere that breast cancer survivors are.”
BRA’s program consists of three main components: exercise, nutrition, and emotional wellness.
“We are really looking at the whole person,” says Anderson. “We offer personal trainers in small group settings and licensed nutritionists with coursework tailored specifically to breast cancer survivors. The emotional wellness component is where the magic happens because people are able to be in a safe space, explore what has happened, and what they want to come out of it. That’s unique.”
Anderson goes on to explain how important this community is for breast cancer survivors.
“You can have a fantastic support system of family and friends, but to sit in a space with five other people who have heard the words ‘You have breast cancer’ – there is a really special camaraderie that happens among those individuals,” says Anderson.
BRA offers monthly educational events, quarterly social events, and locational meet-ups.
“There is a monthly group in Brentwood called the ‘Metastatic Meet-Up’ for women who are living with stage 4 breast cancer,” says Anderson. “It’s really important for us to provide a community for these people because they have their own unique issues.”
Anderson goes on to describe their various monthly educational events.
“We have educational events that are free and open to everyone with plenty of guest speakers and experts in their fields – they’re always fun to listen to,” says Anderson. “You can log on from anywhere and listen. We are always looking for ways to provide more access, it’s really the core of who we are.”
Anderson explains that these groups and events change the lives of their members for the better.
“It’s not fun to go through cancer, and it’s even less fun if you think you’re going through it alone,” laments Anderson. “Get in a room of people where you can laugh and cry about it – they will give you the space to do both.”
BRA’s programs are completely free of cost to their members.
“We are funded 100% by donations and we are really adamant about that because we know the financial cost is significant,” says Anderson. “I mean, some people need treatments for the rest of their lives and that comes with a really big price tag.”
There are plenty of ways to get involved with Breast cancer Recovery in Action, whether you have been diagnosed with breast cancer or want to support those who have.
“Our website is a terrific resource,” says Anderson. “You can see what events are coming up, you can sign up to volunteer, sign up for our newsletter, and there are ways to support us financially.”
BRA’s next big fundraising event is OctoBRAfest, featuring food, drinks, a silent auction, and more on September 30th at 6 pm.
“Our annual fundraiser is OctoBRAfest, which is coming up in the last week of September,” says Anderson. “We’re really excited, this is our third time doing it and every year it gets a little bigger and a little more fun.”
Anderson urges people to spread the word about Breast cancer Recovery in Action and their mission to uplift those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer – no matter where they are.
“Tell a friend,” says Anderson. “Tell a friend of a friend – they don’t even have to live in Middle Tennessee. We are here and we are willing to help.”
You can learn more about how to get involved with BRA here.