In Memory

Who is your Model of Inspiration?

Paying tribute to those we loved and lost to breast cancer is important. We want them to be remembered while we strive to improve the outcomes for others. If you would like to honor the memory of someone you lost to breast cancer, email us for information. 

To view the memorial tribute to BCA co-founder Lucy Day click here

Over 24 years ago, Mary Waterman, my aunt, chose to put her talents, work ethic and connections to work.  When she had a terminal cancer diagnosis she did not sit back and let victimhood take over the remaining time she had left.  Instead, she chose to RISE.  She was a humble, hairless and beautiful warrior during one of the most trying times of her life.  During her journey of a double mastectomy, radiation, chemo and a bone marrow transplant she started Breast Cancer Alliance which has raised millions of dollars for breast cancer research since its inception.  Her story is a constant reminder for me to rise, for all of us to rise.   She did not want others to face what she went through so she chose to rise up and educate women on the importance of preventative breast care and being your own advocate.  I am thankful for the many ways Aunt Mary has inspired me and so many other women. ~ Sarah Yarbrough; Lile Gibbons also paid tribute to Mary Waterman

Lauren Brown, a founding editor of Quartz and beloved daughter of Alison and Jay Brown  died last November at age 37.  Lauren Brown was a rare gem of a person. She had the most generous heart, and would give it freely to those she knew. She loved deeply — her family, her friends, her work, life — and she was loved. She encouraged and empowered her staff at Quartz to speak and write frankly, and showed them that their voices were worth hearing. Quartz launched in 2012 as a digitally native news outlet, designed to be consumed on smartphones.
As an editor, and later director of special projects, Lauren spent most of her time at Quartz facilitating the work of others. But in 2015, she wrote a series about what she was learning as she lived with and fought cancer. Those pieces are helping her friends and family cope with her loss; they’re also just good lessons for living. “[Lauren] was exceptional at her job, but she was even more exceptional at being a human being.”

In 2016, amidst the trigger-minefield of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Lauren helpfully listed things well-meaning people should avoid saying to someone with cancer. More important, she made a list of things you should say:
• I love you.
• I’m here for you.
• Let me know if you want to talk.
• Would you like to go see a movie?
• Can I come to the doctor with you?
• I’m thinking about you.
• How was your day?
• Do you need a ride?
• I’d like to tell you about my day.
• How are you feeling?
• We’ll get through this.

A few quotes from Lauren demonstrate her bravery:

 “My life is no more of a struggle than anyone else’s… we’re all trying to survive until that’s no longer an option. Facing that reality requires as much bravery as it takes, every day, to endure the constellation of tragedies that make up a life.”
 “I choose to believe in love in spite of what, at times, has felt like endless rejection and disappointment. I decide that this Tuesday will be the best Tuesday ever, even though the medicine I have to take to prevent a recurrence of cancer has prevented me from sleeping through the night for nearly six months now. I try to run every day because, regardless of the health benefits, or the calories burned, I know that I will feel better for just having done it.”  
"Now, I want to talk about it so that it's not shameful. I want people who have had cancer to bring their experiences into the world, into a dialogue that is miserably lacking and poorly representative of the real experience of cancer." She is deeply missed. ~ Nancy Rosen

Cokie Roberts, a renowned journalist, author, spoke at the Breast Cancer Alliance Annual Luncheon and Fashion Show in 2011. 

She died last January after a battle with metastatic breast cancer. Cokie was a strong believer in research and prevention of breast cancer.

Thousands jammed the cathedral in Washington to honor her. BCA was fortunate to have Cokie's daughter, Rebecca, say a few words in her memory at our virtual Medical Symposium in September. ~ Sister Joan Magnetti

Mary Anne Lilley was born in 2013 in Hibbing, Minn, and raised in Stamford, CT. She met her soulmate on a trip to Virginia Beach in her 20s and moved south. Married with a son in the 6th grade, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in her mid-40s and underwent a radical double mastecomy. Mary Anne worked at the Dolly & Bobbie Shop on Colley Avenue and Virginia Beach Boulevard for more than 40 years. She will always be remembered as a dear, subtle woman known for her grace, love, happiness, and devotion to family.


My sister, Maryanne Kresse, was first diagnosed with Stage 3 Triple Negative breast cancer in January 2015 after she found a lump in her breast. She underwent a double mastectomy and lymphadenectomy at MSK in New York City, two rounds of chemotherapy and one round of radiation. Within a year, she was declared cancer-free. In the fall of 2019 her cancer returned, although it was not diagnosed until nearly Thanksgiving.  While she qualified for a clinical trial at Dana Farber, she was not considered receptive to the chemotherapy, so she chose not to pursue this path, but rather to live her remaining days on her own terms.  She passed away at a young 72, almost 5 years to the day of her original diagnosis.

Maryanne was a fierce fighter and used an arsenal of nutrition, exercise, meditation and prayer to give herself the best chance to recover and thrive.  Her family --four sisters and brother, her husband Fred, her sons Phil and Mike and their wives and children – rallied around her through her journey and formed her “team” during her year of treatment and the healthy years that followed.

Maryanne was beautiful and energetic, with a keen intellect and curiosity. She was the “go to” resource, savvy and informed on all matters from finance to child rearing, medicine, travel and great home cooking. “M.A.” had an artist’s eye and was an accomplished oil painter, capturing scenes from her homes in Connecticut –she lived in Old Greenwich for more than 25 years -- and her beloved Lake Keowee.   She loved a long, fast walk, a friendly set of tennis, a great book and a competitive game of bridge.  A devout Catholic, Maryanne founded a Healing Payer Ministry at her home church in South Carolina that helped many parishioners through their personal challenges with the support of a loving and prayerful community. 

Maryanne is my Model of Inspiration because, facing insurmountable odds, she became educated about her disease, and was disciplined, resourceful and passionate in fighting it. She received great counsel from her sisterhood of survivors and, in turn, was a great resource to others who found themselves facing a cancer diagnosis. She is loved and remembered by her entire family, and we feel her spirit and affection for us every day. ~ Eileen Grasso


Lisa Ann Rotell – March 3, 1964 – April 23, 2018

Our dear Lisa, beloved daughter, younger sister, mother, wife,teacher and artist died two years ago from triple negative breast cancer that metastasized to her liver.  The quick onset of her illness and death 13 months after rocked our worlds and brought grief we had never experienced before.  Since her death, time has lessened the distress of our profound loss and brought our family closer together.  Since Lisa left us physically, we nowfeel her near us when suddenly her smiling face or infectious laugh hits us unexpectedly.  We feel her in the breeze, in the trees swaying in the wind, we see her now up in the sky as one of the bright stars above us, free and exultant. 

Unique in so many ways, Lisa was a maverick who was unafraid to live her life differently, a nonconformist who inspired others to live creatively.  She inhabited her life as an artist, and pursuedher art, whatever it was at the time, so beautifully.  Lisa emerged early in life as an artist and creative, as a child, in college as a textile designer, then in her embrace of an aesthetic all her ownand finally as a yoga teacher guiding hundreds of devoted students with her dedication, artistry and compassion.  She inspired her son Matthew, who is now 21 years old, to do the same and we experience Lisa in her son’s expression as a fashion designer and visual artist and in his desire to pursue his creativity and define his life on his own individual terms just as Lisa did. Lisa’s example has given her son this freedom. 

For all of us, Lisa getting sick with cancer seemed incomprehensible as her vibrancy, vitality and energy impliedher strength would carry her forward for years to come.  As the youngest sibling in our family, we could not comprehend how Lisa would be the one to falter at 53, long before her due.  But where Lisa’s star ultimately shined brightest was her incredible grace in the face of a devastating disease and unimaginable pain.  The impossible humility and equanimity with which Lisa greeted her fate has impressed everyone who knew and loved her and with this final act she was a teacher to us all.  She has showed us the way.  Perhaps the most important lesson from the loss of someone you hold dear is to enjoy your life to the fullest every day, revel in the wonder of the world and take nothing for granted. ~ From her mother, Ruthann Honcz

Irene Koch, grandmother of Kim Kerr

For Jeanne Swanson from her daughter, Joy Gregory: If Roses Grow in Heaven – A poem by Dolores M. Garcia

"If roses grow in heaven, Lord, please pick a bunch for me, Place them in my mother's arms and tell her they're from me. Tell her I love her and miss her, and when she turns to smile, place a kiss upon her cheek and hold her for a while. Because remembering her is easy, I do it every day, but there's an ache within my heart that will never go away." Not a day goes by that I don’t miss you Mom. It was such an honor and a blessing to have shared this life with you. You were taken far too soon from us and my heart will never be whole again. I will keep fighting your fight for you...for everyone. I love you always, Joy 

Lucy R. Day, co-founder of BCA, survived Breast Cancer due to early detection! ~ EV Day. Karin Douglas, Lile Gibbons, Carolyn Gilbert, Michael Kovner & Jean Doyen de Montaillou, Nancy & William Petty, Barbara & James Reibel, Dana Rogers and Marianne Wyman also pay tribute to her memory


Lile Gibbons in memory of Susan Elia 

Jane Ghazarossian in memory of Lucy Day

Gale and Robert Lawrence, Jr. in memory of Debbie Black

Elaine Madonna in memory of Margaret LaPolla

Margot and Charles Tusa in memory of Nancy Murray

Jane Weitzman in memory of Irma Wallin






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Greenwich, CT 06830

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