When they were just 15 years old, cousins Erika Rech and Mike Ruane found out that one of their family members was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Six months later, a second family member was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Throughout diagnosis and treatment, Erika and Mike witnessed firsthand the devastating effect that cancer can have on a family. “The more we learned about breast cancer, and the treatment, costs and pain it causes, the more compelled we felt to help out families struggling with this disease.” They vowed to form an organization to help families navigate through a cancer diagnosis by providing resources and emotional and financial support.
Through their determination, Breast Intentions was created. Mike and Erika rely solely on donations to fund their cause. These two high school students began researching non-profits and raising money for families during their freshman year. They made their first donation in August of 2007. Erika and Mike enlisted the help of family and friends and continue to make a difference today. Today, Breast Intentions is run entirely by volunteers and all donations go to women in need. Breast Intentions is operating chapters in New York, Illinois and Massachusetts.
“Erika and Michael are truly an inspiration,” says Dominick Antonino. “There is a lot to be said about two teenagers who can begin such an amazing project.”