2018 Ann Haney Award
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Posted by: Megan Purtell
Madison, WI • Breast Cancer Recovery is pleased to announce our 2018 Ann Haney Award recipient, Kathleen Harris. The award is inspired by our founder Ann Haney. The award will be presented at our Party on the Pier: Betting on the Future, Thursday, May 10 at the Edgewater Hotel.
The nomination committee was so inspired by the journey of all our 2018 nominees, and all they do to support women with breast cancer in your community.
How Kathleen's journey has been an inspiration to others
With the nominations, the committee would have liked to given the award to everyone nominated. Almost everyone who has been involved with the wider breast cancer community in Wisconsin over the past 25 years knows Kathleen Harris. Kathleen has been a leader in breast cancer advocacy on the national, state and local stages. Persistent, organized, vocal and stalwart, Kathleen has spoken up on behalf of breast cancer patients and their families since she was diagnosed in 1993. A medical illustrator by profession, she was a founding member of the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition, where she first put her considerable organizational skills to use. Her activities have had effects across the spectrum of breast cancer concerns, including advocacy, research, breast cancer and the environment, genetic testing, healthcare reform, genetic testing, and clinical trials. Her reputation is actually international – she was the keynote speaker for an international breast cancer conference in 2002. Over the years, Kathleen has led Wisconsinites in raising their voices for research funding (more than 4.2 million of which has come back to Wisconsin research institutions), supporting evidence-based policy positions, developing well-trained advocates, and making sure advocates have a seat at the tables of power. Through these years of effort, Kathleen has been a model of activism, informed engagement, and persistence, for countless women in her roles as board director of the WBCC, National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Wisconsin Field Coordinator, and advocate, presenter and organizer at numerous conferences, committees, and symposiums. Kathleen has inspired so many others by being dedicated to doing the hard work, work that requires detailed study and courage, work that often happens in the background and behind-the-scenes, and work that nevertheless is critical for the well-being of breast cancer patients and their families.
Kathleen's contributions to her community.
While the list in response to the previous questions could be repeated here, I’d like to focus on illuminating the kind of contributions a stellar advocate like Kathleen provides to the wider breast cancer community. Policy work is where the experience of the individual meets the public good. Public policy, by its nature, affects everyone under its aegis; good breast cancer laws help not just the breast cancer community, but the entire Wisconsin public. By the same token, bad laws do the same. By engaging so fully in public policy, Kathleen has helped improve the conditions of the lives of all Wisconsin citizens and all Americans. Policy work is not for everyone. It requires skills of strong commitment, patience, excellent communications, political savvy, and strategy. In healthcare, as in government, those who are willing to slog through the bills, the reports, the lengthy discussions, and the touchy politics do those of us who prefer not to have to engage in this sometimes tedious work a great service. The leadership of our breast cancer stakeholders sector recognizes the importance of policy to their individual missions, but it sometimes goes unnoticed by the broader public. Without Kathleen and people like her, the needs of breast cancer patients and their families would often be overlooked; they would be faced with much more difficult circumstances and would find themselves without a voice on important issues.
Kathleen's support other women diagnosed with breast cancer.
Kathleen is a natural leader who has always supported others diagnosed with breast cancer by helping them find their voices, gain confidence in speaking out, become well-informed advocates, and influence policy. She is part of a movement that appeals to women and men who want to take action – whether motivated by negative experiences or positive ones. Some people come through their breast cancer diagnosis on fire to change a process or system that they experienced, and Kathleen helps them to make a difference. She empowers people.
Kathleen has been recognized by the National Breast Cancer Coalition for her service to the breast cancer community nationally, and we appreciate the opportunity provided by Breast Cancer Recovery for her to be recognized by a state-level award for her excellent service as well. We would like to point out that Kathleen has not retired as of yet; she is still on the policy front lines. She still has our backs!