Libby Maynard was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2005 and endured a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. Her attitude was amazing. She always had a smile on her face and the most positive outlook even in the face of her own diagnosis. She made it through her initial treatments, but was informed that the cancer was back in September. In January 2006, after more chemotherapy, the doctor said the average woman in her condition lived three to five years. He told her to go do all the things she ever wanted to do. She didn’t accept this opinion, of course, and with a smile on her face, said “Well, that’s the average woman, and there’s nothing average about me!”
When her daughters asked Libby what she always wanted to do but hadn’t yet, her response was to cruise to Alaska. The cruise was planned for May 2006 but shockingly, Libby passed away just 6 weeks later. “Our mom was FUN. Our mom was STRONG. Our mom raised us to make a difference in this world and that’s just what we intended to do,” says Libby’s daughter and founder of Libby’s Legacy, Robin Maynard. Robin left her career as a Crime Scene Investigator and founded Libby’s Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation in honor of their mother in 2007.
Libby’s Legacy is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide comprehensive breast health services to the underserved and uninsured Central Florida community through education, mammograms, follow up diagnostics and Hope Coaches on the journey from diagnosis to treatment and beyond. Libby’s Legacy offers some distinct programs already and there is a new an exciting project with Grammy award winning Melissa Etheridge as well! Current programs are the Cancer Screening Initiative (CSI), the Mammogram Access Project (MAP), the Patient advocate liaison service (PALS) and the LIVE BIG trip (Remember that cruise Libby and her girls didn’t get to take? Others now have!).
The CSI program allows our patients to come directly to an office for free mammogram services and any follow up care that is needed. The MAP program allows Libby’s Legacy to utilize their mobile breast health unit to provide education and sign up for mobile screening mammograms in rural areas of Central Florida. Through the PALS program Libby’s Legacy is able to provide an advocate for diagnosed patients. From finding doctors to attending appointments and taking notes for the patient. With PALS, they know they are not alone. Of course we have our LIVE BIG program which is a cruise for a stage IV patient and their family. We provide one free trip every year to one patient that is presented at our annual fundraising event Scooters 4 Hooters. This event allows us to raise funds to provide services throughout the year. In 2016, we had the opportunity to take 10 breast cancer survivors on the Melissa Etheridge cruise. Not only were we able to fundraise $32,000 from an autographed guitar raffle but we built a relationship with Melissa after she heard about our desire to provide low income survivors with an opportunity to grow their own organic food and pay it forward to other survivors through our Pink Ribbon Garden project! Melissa was so interested in helping us create this program that 3 weeks after the cruise, she and her wife, Linda visited Libby’s Legacy in Orlando, volunteered for a day and helped us secure the land for the first garden. Melissa was at the ground breaking ceremony in April 2017 and we hope to plant these gardens all over the country , thereby reducing the risk of recurrence of a breast cancer survivor by more than 20% in some cases.
Since its beginnings in 2007, Libby’s Legacy has provided over 6,000 breast health services, diagnosed 97 breast cancers through life saving diagnostics and awarded nine LIVE BIG cruises to stage IV cancer survivors. Now we embark on a mission to prevent recurrences. As long as there is a need, Libby’s Legacy will step forward and lead the way in creating a spirit of not just surviving, but living.