CRAAB! (Capital Region Action Against Breast Cancer)

CRAAB!  is a community-based organization based in Albany, NY whose mission is to 1) empower people affected by breast cancer, 2) provide support services and education for survivors, caregivers and the general public, and 3) promote research and policies that lead to the eradication of breast cancer. Led by an active board of directors, seven of whom are breast cancer survivors, CRAAB! serves 10-12 upstate counties. We partner with many medical centers, businesses and community organizations to provide services to underserved communities. We provide a number of support services for survivors including Patient Navigation, Peer Support, and

Medical Massage at Home.  Because exercise has been shown to reduce risk of recurrence of the most prevalent type of breast cancer we provide several exercise programs for survivors, free of charge, including Yoga in 3 counties; Healthy Steps dance therapy; Gentle Pilates; Resist-A-Ball classes; Metabolism & Strength classes; Nia Joy of Movement; and the Walking for Wellness Club.

For education, we publish 3-4 CRAAB! Newsletters each year that include columns on recent research, book reviews, profiles of survivors in their own words, and reports on our advocacy efforts.  We also organize several community education programs and Risk Reduction Workshops throughout the year that address nutrition, exercise, environmental connections, new developments in genetic research and screening practices. Other 2013 programs were a Dreaming Well Workshop on creative visualization, and Approaches to Advocacy for college students.

On April 4th, 2014 CRAAB! will host a conference on “Updates on Breast Cancer Risk Factors,” where prominent scientists will speak about new research on environment and genetic interactions, endocrine disruption, DNA methylation, breast milk biomarkers, exercise and weight management, and other topics. Dr. Roxana Moslehi will discuss her published study on the “True Burden” educational research project, a 2-year collaboration of CRAAB! and the University at Albany School of Public Health that was funded by the NYS Health Research Science Board.

During the past 15 years CRAAB! has helped organize Annual NYS Breast Cancer Advocacy Days with NYSBCN organizations. Highlights of our advocacy work include creating the Survivors Support Initiative to fund community-based breast cancer organizations through state grants; supporting the Breast and Cervical Treatment Program to expand Medicaid coverage; supporting Insurance Coverage for Lymphedema; banning BPA from children’s products; supporting Neighbor Notification of Pesticide Use, and a bill to ban fracking. Recently, we participated in NYSBCSEN’s training program on the NY State of Health Insurance Exchange so we can help our clients evaluate and access the insurance policies that are best for them.

In addition, we have worked with our NYSBCN sister groups on other social and environmental issues, such as primary prevention and toxic chemical reform; screening guidelines; genetic patents; medical marijuana, and the over-commercialization and pink-washing associated with contemporary “pink ribbon culture.”

For CRAAB!, being a part of NYSBCSEN has meant magnifying our mission to help breast cancer survivors, expanding the peer support network, sharing programming ideas, working as a team to advance public policy improvements, and fostering friendships throughout the state.

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