Get In Touch | Betsy Nilan
My name is Betsy Nilan, I am 26 years old, a breast health advocate with pink hair, and I am President of The Get In Touch Foundation, a global breast health non-profit based out of Milford, CT.
13 years ago, my mom, Mary Ann Wasil, was performing a breast self-exam and found a lump on her left breast. After having a negative mammogram and ultrasound, her doctor told her to “not worry about it,” that with her young age of 39, and no family history, it was “probably nothing.”
My mom had been doing breast self-exams her whole life - she knew her body better than anyone else and she knew it wasn’t “nothing.” She was diagnosed with stage-2 breast cancer only two weeks later, the week of my 13th birthday.
My mom was worried for my younger sister, Mary and me. She wanted us to be armed and equipped with all the information we needed to be strong healthy women, just like she was! She wanted us to know what our normal healthy breast tissue felt like – so if anything ever did change, we would notice.
After her diagnosis, she didn’t just want her daughters to know how to do breast self-exams; she wanted everyone to know how. She worked with a team of medical professionals to develop the Daisy Wheel educational tool that teaches girls how to do a breast self-exam.
Since its launch in 2009, the Get In Touch Girls’ Program, which is FREE for schools nurses and health educators, has been implemented in all 50 states and 34 countries.
Five years ago, my mom had a stage-4 recurrence, and in April of last year, sadly passed away. I immediately stepped up as President of The Get In Touch Foundation to carry on her life-giving mission to empower and educate girls all over the world.
My pink hair, which I started coloring over a year ago, is not only a tribute to my mom, but is also a tribute to the girls my mom has educated in the last 13 years, and all the girls I will educate in her honor.
Over the last three years, Guess Watches has partnered with The Get In Touch Foundation and has created Special Edition watches where they have donated 10% of the sales of the proceeds to The Get In Touch Foundation. Last spring, Guess
Watches asked me to model the Special Edition “Sparkling Pink” and “Sporting Pink” watches with my vibrant pink hair for their fall campaign. They also asked me to do an Instagram and Snapchat takeover where I showed viewers the Special Edition watches and taught them how to do a breast self-exam by walking them through our Daisy Wheel.
Major partners like Guess Watches allow us to continue providing our program for FREE to girls all around the world. Guess Watches believes in our mission - so should you.
There is no cure for cancer yet, so early detection is our best defense. It is important to do breast self-exams ALL YEAR long, not just in October.
I encourage you to “get in touch” with your body, and yourself – be your own health advocate!
If you would like more information on The Get In Touch Foundation, you can visit our website www.getintouchfoundation.org, or follow us on social media!