The Keep A Breast App. Kicking October Off With Prevention!

 In Interviews

October is right around the corner, and what better way to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month than with a brand new PREVENTION tool?

I’m so proud to introduce to you the Keep A Breast App by The Keep A Breast Foundation. 

After a close friend was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, designer and artist, Shaney jo Darden, founded the global non-profit organization The Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB) to raise awareness for breast cancer and to encourage prevention and early detection among young people. Now, as KAB celebrates its 20th anniversary, Shaney jo is a leading voice and philanthropy expert in the cultural conversation about breast cancer.

Over the years, she has received many awards for her innovative fusion of advocacy and art. Shaney jo is a certified yoga teacher and breath work enthusiast. Shaney jo is usually accompanied by her 120lb rescue dog Bear Cupcake.

I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Shaney jo…check out our Q&A below. And be sure to download the app and share with ALL of your friends!

Q) What is Keep A Breast and why did you decide to start this organization?

A) Keep A Breast is a non-profit organization with a mission to empower young people around the world with breast health, education and support. I founded Keep A Breast 20 years ago after a friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had no prior comprehension of how early in life breast cancer could strike. It flipped a switch in my brain and I realized that it was my purpose to start this conversation with young people about breast cancer prevention. I wanted to do something that spoke to my peers.

Since the beginning, Keep A Breast has made connections with younger generations about breast health through music, art, skate, and surf culture. We meet young people where they are and we empower them with the education to help them be their own, best advocates.

Q) Tell us about the launch of the new app! What are you most excited about?

A) Yes! The Keep A Breast App is an exciting replacement for our former Check Yourself! App. In the app, you can now schedule your monthly self-check based on your menstrual cycle so you know your “normal,”and learn how a self-check works.

The really exciting addition to this app is if you find something that feels suspicious (like a lump) the app can connect you with our partner Carbon Health for a virtual session so you can be your own health advocate and get a professional opinion asap. Other new features include stories from breast cancer survivors, breast health resources, in-app rewards, and more!

Q) Why did you decide to launch the app? And why now?

A) We’d been planning on updating the app for a bit, so we asked people what they thought was missing from the app, and more of what they wanted to see, and set out to make it happen. We thought our 20th anniversary was the perfect time to give it a refresh and get the message out there that we’re working towards breast health for all. Also, many people don’t feel safe going to hospitals during a global pandemic unless they really have to. This feature helps you know if you really need to see a doctor in person.

Q) Is there a cost to subscribers?

A) The Keep A Breast app is completely free!

Q) What are you hoping to accomplish with the new app?

A) More accessible breast health, prevention, and early detection. When you know your body, and do your self-check every month, you know when something is wrong and you can catch it earlier. Early detection saves lives. Also, partnering with Carbon Health was a huge step for KAB, and the app, to be able to connect people who find a lump, or something not normal for them, with a medical professional who will help them create a plan.

Removing the stigma, and sometimes shame, around loving your breasts is huge for me as well. Do me a favor if you’re reading this, take a moment and look at your breasts and tell them how much you love and appreciate them. Thank them for being there. I want you to know that early detection saves lives and doing your monthly self-check is the best way to know what is normal and not normal for you.

Q) Who are you looking to target with the app? A younger generation?

A) We encourage literally everyone to check themselves, men, women, non-binary, and gender non-conforming folks…everyone! We all have boobies and they need to be checked, and loved. This app can be used by anyone, but yes, our audience is primarily young people because I started KAB when I saw a lack of prevention education and conversations about breast cancer when I was in my 20s.

Q) How are you planning to spread the word about the app?

A) We’ll be spreading the word about the app through our social media channels, our email list, and the community that has supported KAB so unconditionally these last 20 years. We are so lucky to have partners and advocates, like you, who help us empower young people around the world with breast health education and support.

Q) Why do you think it’s so important to have a self breast exam app?

A) Since I started KAB, we’ve always said prevention is the cure and early detection is key. The Keep A Breast app is a home for both of those truths. 40% of people diagnosed with breast cancer find their own lump, and if you know how your body feels, you can catch something early if it arises. The app also connects you with resources to lower your risk of breast cancer in your everyday life.

Q) What is your big dream for the Keep A Breast organization as a whole?

A) Our vision is a world without breast cancer. But until then, our mission is to educate young people about the true risks of cancer, ways of living a healthy, non-toxic lifestyle and the importance of a “self check” to ensure early detection. Right now, we’re making our big dream come true by building a retreat center in the desert for cancer survivors, called the KAB Valley, that will provide the space and tools for visitors to explore and nurture individual and collective wellness.

Q) Tell us a little about yourself! Where are you from? Where did you go to college and what did you study?

A) I’m from San Diego. I grew up in the 80’s and I always wanted to be a fashion designer. My mom taught me how to sew and I made a lot of my own clothes. My aunt had a boutique and I used to make hand painted jeans and hats and sell them to pay for more fabrics and gas. I studied Fashion design at FIDM in Los Angeles and had an amazing career as a denim designer. I’ve lived in New York and San Francisco and have travelled the world but I will always call San Diego my home. I recently moved to Joshua Tree to work on the next big project for Keep A Breast. We are building a wellness center for cancer survivors and their families.

Q) Any interesting hobbies?

A) My hobbies pretty much revolve around self care and healing. I’m a certified yoga teacher and breath work practitioner. I love anything that has to do with keeping a healthy body and spirit. I love hiking, yoga and practicing vegan cooking.

Q) Any fun facts that you’d like to share with us? (Your favorite snack, guilty pleasure, favorite show to binge watch on Netflix, etc)

A) I was on the TV show The Bachelor once! I love telling people this because at first it sounds like a shocker. They did an episode on Keep A Breast where I got to cast all the bachelorettes and the bachelor as part of the show. We all painted them together. It was a cool experience that’s for sure! My favorite show is Queer Eye! It’s all my favorite things wrapped up in one joyous hug of a show. I also have a giant rescue dog. He’s 120 lbs. His name is Bear Cupcake, he sleeps in bed with me and is the coolest guy in the world.

Thank you Shaney jo, for creating the Keep A Breast app and for reminding us about the importance of the breast self-check! We can’t wait to see what you’ll do next….

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