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American Cancer Society Volunteer Appointed President of International Breast Cancer Support Group
Cathy Hirsch, a 10-year breast cancer survivor, is New President of Reach to Recovery International

CAPE TOWN, South Africa March 22, 2013 Long-time American Cancer Society volunteer Cathy Hirsch has been appointed president of Reach to Recovery International, an organization that provides peer support and services to improve quality of life for women facing breast cancer. Hirsch assumed the role today at the 17th Reach to Recovery International Breast Cancer Support Conference in Cape Town, South Africa (March 19-22). Hirsch, a Society volunteer for the past eight years, became a volunteer for the organization’s Reach To Recovery® program after experiencing it through her own breast cancer diagnosis in 2003.

            Hirsch, a Baltimore, Maryland-based attorney and former journalist, began with the American Cancer Society as a Reach To Recovery volunteer in 2005, after recovering from stage II breast cancer. The immeasurable support that she received from another Reach to Recovery volunteer, who went through the same diagnosis and treatment as Hirsch, motivated her to leave her legal profession behind and become a volunteer for the program.

“Cathy Hirsch is well suited to her new role as president of Reach to Recovery International. Volunteers like Cathy make our commitment to fighting cancer much more meaningful to so many,” said Gary M. Reedy, volunteer board chair for the American Cancer Society. “Cathy has used her personal experience with breast cancer as motivation to help others faced with this disease. She is a testament to the strong, global grassroots force that moves the American Cancer Society forward in the fight against cancer.”

In addition to other duties as president, Hirsch will serve as the face and voice of Reach to Recovery International for the next two years, leading the organization’s efforts to grow existing grassroots groups and form new support groups around the world. Hirsch will also chair the organization’s international advisory committee, and will be a member of the board of management.

For more than 40 years, the American Cancer Society's Reach To Recovery program has helped women and men cope with their breast cancer experience. This experience begins when someone is faced with the possibility of a breast cancer diagnosis and continues throughout the entire period that breast cancer remains a personal concern. The program matches breast cancer patients with specially-trained breast cancer survivors, who offer emotional support and other resources.

Reach To Recovery began as an American Cancer Society program in 1969, and later grew into a program that reached women in other parts of the world. Reach to Recovery International became a program of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) in 1994, reaching women in about 100 countries around the world; and is now managed by The Cancer Council Queensland.

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society's efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. As we mark our 100th birthday in 2013, we're determined to finish the fight against cancer. We're finding cures as the nation’s  largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.


PR Contact: Busola Afolabi | busola.afolabi@cancer.org