While working for USAA in 1997, Sandi Stanford found her path to the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF) through her good friend and survivor, Eileen Mueller. Sandi, who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer was comforted by Eileen who was President of the ABCF at the time. Eileen supported Sandi daily as she constantly reminded her not to listen to the negativity and to choose hope instead. With a ‘You’re coming with me!’ attitude, Eileen introduced Sandi to the women of ABCF, before her passing from Metastatic Breast Cancer. This is where Sandi’s story with Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation begins.
Working with the foundation entails many rewarding experiences and Sandi keeps her fondest memories with ABCF close to her heart. She explains a time when traveling to the National Breast Cancer Coalition Summit. “We would get together for a nice dinner and just have a good time, forget about cancer for the evening and just be ourselves. One of the best things is learning that this doesn’t have to be a deadly disease and life can be fairly normal for most people.”
“It’s like walking down a sidewalk and you stumble but you don’t fall, you keep going.”
Sandi says some of the very first breast cancer advocates she’s met noticed the working efforts made for the HIV community. Even men had their own prostate cancer organizations, but breast cancer groups never seemed to be achieving those same heights and that desperately needed to change.
ABCF is the very first breast cancer foundation in San Antonio, established in 1993. Sandi and her sisters started making their footprint and would to go to the San Antonio Spur’s games when they had petitions to sign for a national bill. They would stand right outside the door of the men’s bathroom and wouldn’t let them go until they signed the petition. This type of initiative is supposed to inspire the fight for the women who came before and to continue for those to come.
Impact is made through education and spreading awareness. ABCF tackles their issues by addressing them to legislation and successfully getting Texas Bills passed. The representatives at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston baffle in question, on how ABCF got their Bill through the first time when they’ve been trying with no success. Sandi understood that those guys were a bunch of doctors. “We are the face and the patients. They see us, they know we’ve lived it, we’ve been there so they listen.”
When asked where she hopes to be in the near future, with a smile on her face she says “Alive.”