METUP is committed to changing the landscape of metastatic cancer through direct action. We protest and demonstrate; we meet with government and health officials and researchers; we support research into metastatic disease; and we speak out against the sexualizing of breast cancer. We are convinced that the deaths of women and men from metastatic breast cancer are a paramount issue, and we pledge ourselves to oppose all who deny the reality of the 522,000 people who will die from metastatic breast cancer globally every year while waiting for a cure to be found.
- We want the SEER database modified to begin tracking when someone with early stage disease metastasizes, so that every woman and man with metastatic disease is counted.
- We want additional research funding for all cancer types. The National Institute of Health (NIH) now only funds about 8% of the grant applications it receives. We want that number increased to at least 25%.
- We want at least 30% of federal breast cancer research dollars to be spent on metastatic disease, with a focus on translational research.
- We want corporations that use our disease for profit to immediately cease doing so. Our deaths are not for sale.
- We want organizations that sexualize our disease, including breast cancer charities, to stop focusing on our breasts and start focusing on our lives. We oppose any breast cancer charity that partners with corporations or other organizations that sexualize our cancer.
- We want anyone associated with breast cancer, including breast cancer charities and any corporations that put pink ribbons on their merchandise, to provide accurate information about breast cancer’s death toll and to focus their efforts on reducing that toll through research, rather than continuing their now-pointless awareness campaigns that do nothing to save our lives.
It was Sunday, April 12, 2015, in the wee, dark hours of the morning, when the seeds were planted. Calls were made. Texts were sent. A spark flashed in a hotel in Philadelphia.
Later, not long before noon, the spark caught in flame. 108 women lay down in repose, row upon row, dying for the 108 who were dying that day in the United States.
We lost someone near and dear to many of us that day in actuality, something we learned about by the afternoon as the Living Beyond Breast Cancer 9th Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference came to an end, and people departed for home.
Blogs were written, both about the die-in and the death, and comparisons were drawn between this new breath of passion, and ACT UP.
Jennie Grimes returned home, clear across the country, and registered MET UP. There was a basic site, a placeholder, promising something to come. But treatment sapped her energy, and Susanne Kraus-Dahlgren offered to take the flag up the hill. Networking began to happen, and people were reached. Beth Caldwell, the organizer of the first die-in, was brought on board, along with Susan Rahn. More people spoke up, ideas were exchanged, and hearts caught fire. Melissa McAllister joined the graphics team, and Kate Crawford offered additional help in the realm of website creation and organizational experience.
The number of 108 was updated from current statistics to 116 and then changed to 1,718 to reflect the deaths on a global scale, expanding beyond the borders of the United States. These numbers are as of 2018.
Just a few sparks, heat and light. But every firestorm begins with exactly that.