JALBCA was founded by a small group of judges and lawyers who were all personally affected by breast cancer, either as survivors themselves or as family or close friends. We realized that together we could make a difference in the legal community and resolved to take action. Our first target was to increase awareness about the importance of early detection and treatment. We also began to raise money to provide critically needed services to the legal community and beyond.
That was in 1992, when education about breast cancer was a primary need. JALBCA brought education to the places most accessible to judges and lawyers—courthouses. We began our Courthouse Alerts, distributing literature and information about resources, and these events now take place throughout the state.
To encourage early screening, we began sponsoring scan vans–mobile mammography suites. Although the vans were originally intended to provide screening for busy legal professionals who felt that they didn’t have time to go to their health care professionals, the program in fact began to provide screening to uninsured and underinsured women in their own communities.
JALBCA also presents annual symposiums on cutting-edge regulatory, industry, and legal issues relevant to the search for a cure and access to treatment for breast cancer. These meetings, moderated by judges and renowned physicians, provide an essential source of high-level information, which is disseminated through our regular newsletter. The 2013 symposium highlighted the role of the judiciary in the war on cancer.
It’s been more than 20 years since JALBCA was founded, and our education, research, and support initiatives remain as relevant as ever. Breast cancer continues to affect women and men in our profession and in our lives. We are ever more committed to providing funding to research initiatives and to patient-focused organizations that are making a difference in the lives of women experiencing breast cancer and their families. Each year, the Maite Aquino Memorial Grant, which honors one of our colleagues who died in 2011 after a determined fight against breast cancer, will provide funds to programs that offer legal and social support to families in crisis. We’re dedicated to serving not only members of the legal profession but also our shared community, as together we continue to take action against breast cancer and support those affected by it.