2:37 | Transcript
“When you’re first diagnosed with breast cancer, your loved ones expect there to be an end date. They think soon, you’ll recover. But for those of us with metastatic breast cancer, it’s for life,” said Jennifer Pace, founder of MBC Travelers.
Pace learned she had metastatic breast cancer (MBC), or stage 4, just eight months after her initial diagnosis of stage 3B breast cancer in 2012. While the survival rate can be months to years, when someone has MBC, it’s a terminal diagnosis.
“With a terminal cancer diagnosis comes so many changes — from your relationships with your family and friends to your outlook on life,” Pace said. “At a certain point, you need support from a community who uniquely understands what you’re going through.”
Unfortunately, breast cancer affects many. About one in eight women, and a small percent of men, will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. And for nearly 30% of women diagnosed, the disease will progress to MBC.
Eventually, Pace decided to seek out other women living with MBC, starting at research and advocacy conferences. Quickly, she realized there was a community of women who wanted to form real connections and friendships outside of these settings — to live life to the fullest and experience it together. She suggested a group trip — and the response was overwhelming. More than 800 women expressed interest.
In 2021, Pace officially founded MBC Travelers, a nonprofit organization on a mission to empower MBC patients — or MBC “thrivers” — by creating memorable experiences and lifelong connections with a community of women facing the same diagnosis.
“I realized this would be more than a girls’ trip,” Pace said. “We were fulfilling a gap for women living with MBC. We need research and advocacy, but we also need opportunities to connect with each other in ways we can’t with others.”
MBC Travelers builds community through an annual five-day “bucket list” trip for 50 women and pop-up events, weekend getaways and experiences for smaller groups around the country throughout the year — at little cost to no cost for the women attending. Pace plans every aspect of each trip and event, keeping in mind what MBC thrivers — who vary in their capabilities due to progression of their disease — will find fun, valuable and memorable.
“This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re proud to support MBC Travelers in their mission to create personal, memorable experiences through a community that supports each other for life,” said Seth Siegel, CEO of Grant Thornton. “The MBC Travelers community is special because it’s not just a one-time event or trip. It goes beyond helping MBC patients survive — it's there to help them live.”
Many women attend MBC Travelers trips year after year, leading to a community-building experience that they can’t find anywhere else.
“These trips are about making the most of life with a sisterhood who understands,” Pace said. “It’s not so much about where we’re going and what we’re doing, but who we’re with and the connections we’re making.”
The bonds that are made on MBC Travelers trips go beyond the days they spend traveling together, too. Members of the community — now more than 400 strong — keep up with each other in GroupMe chats, calls and visits for life’s moments, big and small.
“We go to each other’s weddings and birthdays. We fly across the country to visit for a doctor’s appointment or after a surgery,” Pace shared. “We’re there for each other through the good and the bad, from the beginning to the end.”
Join us in honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month by supporting MBC Travelers, who are empowering women with MBC through not just trips, but lifelong friendships and a community that helps them thrive.