Posted on December 20, 2023

By KR, Executive Director

Dear Friends and Community,

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of two long-time and beloved Board Members, Belle Shayer and Dorothy Geoghegan. Their presence and contributions to our community were invaluable, and their loss is deeply felt by our team.

Belle Shayer was the last living co-founder of Breast Cancer Action. She served on our original Board of Directors and stayed connected to our work for 30+ years until her passing as our only Emeritus Board Member.

Belle turned from breast cancer patient to breast cancer advocate after her second bout with the disease in 1988. She served as BCAction’s first Board Treasurer, and had served on the Board of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. She was an active member of BCAction’s Speakers’ Bureau, and served on the Board of the State of California Women’s Health Council.

You can learn more about Belle Shayer and our history from our 2020 interview with her, “Conversation with Belle Shayer,” and by watching her speech from Breast Cancer Action’s 30th Anniversary event held in October of 2020.

Belle’s activist approach and intersectional lens still shine through in Breast Cancer Action’s mission, vision, and language today. From her 2020 interview:

“Early on, we agreed that breast cancer is not a personal tragedy, but an economic, political, systemic issue. The question was, how were we going to get that point across to political leaders?”

Dorothy Geoghegan was a long-time board member and supporter of BCAction.

Dorothy was a good friend of our first Executive Director Barbara Brenner, a devoted second grade teacher, and one of the most delightful people anyone could know. Dorothy’s support of BCAction goes back to the early ‘90s — she was a vibrant, loving, funny, and energetic activist.

As we remember Belle and Dorothy, two powerful contributors to Breast Cancer Action and valued friends, let us lean on one another for support, and find strength in the memories we shared with both of them. Their legacies will continue to inform and inspire us as we move forward as a community.

We will share a more comprehensive tribute to both of these phenomenal women after the holidays, when we’ll delve deeper into the contributions and memories they gave us.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to everyone affected by these losses.