ABOUT SO BRAVE
AUSTRALIA’S YOUNG WOMEN’S BREAST CANCER CHARITY
The So Brave Project began as an idea. Founder, Rachelle Panitz, was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 32, having just given birth to her son 6 weeks earlier and with a 3 year old daughter. Breast cancer turned her family and professional life upside down and she decided that when she was better she would harness this setback and help empower other women. As a young mother diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks after the birth of her son, Rachelle wanted to create awareness that breast cancer can happen at any age, with or without a family or genetic history. More importantly, she felt very isolated, confused and frustrated with the lack of medical support and information about the risk of breast cancer and in diagnosing young women.
She founded So Brave after a chance meeting with internationally renowned bodypaint artist Wendy Fantasia and the project has gone from strength to strength. In January 2017, after nearly twelve months’ work and nearly 50 creators and participants, So Brave Ltd successfully became its own legal entity and charity, with a clear message and focus on young women diagnosed with breast cancer. So Brave is recognised as raising awareness that #youngwomengetbreastcancertoo and fundraising for breast cancer research.
Our first Calendar, launched in August 2016, began with amazing media publicity and successfully raised $70,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the Centre for Personalised NanoMedicine. Our first Calendar featured the stories and breathtaking images of young women who were diagnosed with breast cancer before 40 years of age in iconic and beautiful locations in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast.
Building on this success, So Brave has spent the first half of 2017 travelling over 16,000km to bring the project to regional and remote women across Australia, in this our year of regional focus. In partnership with the McGrath Foundation and with the support of many wonderful McGrath breast care nurses, So Brave brought our once-in-a-lifetime bodypaint and photoshoot days to women across regional and remote Australia; from Mackay in far north Queensland, to Phillip Island, Nullawarre and Warrnambool in Victoria and over to Coffin Bay and up to Alice Springs and many places in between. In 2017, our fundraising efforts will support the McGrath Foundation and will continue to support our investment in breast cancer research. We look forward to building on our successes year on year and raising awareness of breast cancer diagnosis in young women.
So Brave Board
Founder and CEO
Rachelle has a passion for life, and after her own breast cancer diagnosis in January 2014, she, like all our So Brave Model Ambassadors, found it very difficult as a young woman diagnosed with breast cancer. Following nearly 18 months of treatment – surgery, chemo, radiation, immunotherapy and hormone therapy, Rachelle wanted to raise awareness and funds, in the hope of making an easier path for the 900 young women under 40 years of age that are diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia each year.
So Brave’s first calendar was delivered in 2016, and this year her small private enterpise, transformed into an Australian National Charity, registered nationwide. Rachelle has surrounded herself with a talented board, supportive advisors and an amazing creative team to form So Brave Ltd in 2017. As the Founder and CEO of So Brave, Rachelle hopes that all young women will become #breastaware for life.
Sarah has over 8 years experience working in Indigenous Health. With a background in exercise science and public health, Sarah is a MBA candidate at the University of Queensland. Sarah has a passion for health service management with strong beliefs in fairness, equity and integrity for healthcare services. Sarah is committed to So Brave’s message that #youngwomengetbreastcancertoo and raising awareness for young women to listen to their bodies.
Claire is an experienced and energetic individual who has spent her career in manufacturing working for a number of different fast-moving consumer good (FMCG) companies. Her passion for manufacturing lies in the process of making a product that people want to buy. As a Business Graduate, Claire has been fortunate in being able to carve out her career in a role that she loves working with people and technology.
Claire was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2016 at the age of 41. After treatment, which included a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction, Claire knew that she wanted to be able to “give back” in some way. After attending the Inaugural Moet High Tea in Brisbane ran by So Brave in 2016 Claire knew that she wanted to join the So Brave Team. Having a strong family history ensured that Claire was breast aware and led to an early diagnosis, she recognises that this is not the case for every woman and wants to help make a difference to young women.
Lisa Brincat is a Chartered Accountant and Business Strategist. She has spent her career navigating complex change with executives and business owners – building organisational culture and teams. Lisa wakes up in the morning to help create a better world for her children and prove that each small action contributes to that. Lisa is involved with So Brave because as a mother she doesn’t want a single child to be left motherless by this disease.
Wendy Fantasia is an exceptional and experienced professional bodypaint artist.
Currently ranked 5th in the world for facepainting, Wendy’s artistry and ability to completely transform each So Brave Model Ambassador into a work of art is nothing short of extraordinary. We are blessed to have Wendy on our creative team.