About the Myself: Together Again Project
The Myself: Together Again Project (M:TA) started as a Susan G. Komen North Carolina Triangle Affiliate grant in 2006 and grew to become a 501 c-3 public charity in 2007 after our appearance on the Today Show. From 2006-2010 Debbie and the M:TA Team worked tirelessly to get our first book into hospitals and doctors’ offices all over the world. Our mission was simple: we wanted women to feel empowered through the breast reconstruction process. Read more on our About Us Page:
Debbie Horwitz, breast cancer survivor, founded the M:TA project and has been serving as Director for more than eight years. After her own book was released in 2006 and Book II: Sherri’s Story was released in 2012, Debbie worked relentlessly to promote both books all over the world through media outreach, public speaking and developing partnerships with hospitals and cancer centers. Debbie has also made it her mission to speak directly to plastic surgeons and encourage them to carry our books for their patients.
Debbie is now at a place where she hopes to step away from day-to-day operations of M:TA to focus her attention on the original mission of her project: providing patient support and education.
Debbie has become an inspiring speaker for many, even outside the breast cancer community. She hopes to further build her speaking platform to reach a broader audience.
The News About Angelina Jolie
The recent Angelina Jolie announcement and media firestorm regarding her genetic makeup, double mastectomy, and subsequent reconstruction has brought the issue of breast reconstruction and preventive surgery front and center, which has made our work very relevant.
In May when Jolie made her announcement, Debbie was contacted immediately by numerous media channels about her story and about the M:TA project. Months later, people are still talking about Jolie’s preventive decision and the issue of whether or not women are choosing mastectomy out of fear and potentially not weighing all of their options. Debbie’s feelings are as follows:
“As someone who is BRAC-1 like Jolie, and who also lost a mother to breast cancer and has survived a very aggressive breast cancer herself, I will tell you that in Angelina’s case she made a brilliant decision. I will also say that it is a decision that should never be taken lightly, and I do not believe it is for everyone who has a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. My advice to women with a family history of any kind of cancer is to meet with a genetic counselor and consider genetic testing. Genetic counseling, in conjunction with an in-depth conversation with your doctor, is certainly a good starting place.
Lastly, I will say that I disagree with the argument that women with early stage breast cancer are too quick to remove their breasts. Although research suggests a lumpectomy can be as effective at getting rid of cancer as a mastectomy in certain cases, the reality for many women that I’ve met is that without mastectomy they live in fear of another diagnosis of cancer in the future – especially young women. The bottom line is that it is a personal choice. Although sometimes the surgeon and patient may not agree, ultimately the patient has to decide what they can live with long-term.”