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BCNA News 20 Jun 2019

Vale Rob Fincher

Rob Fincher

Sometimes people come into your life for a moment, a day, or a lifetime. It matters not the time they spent with you, but how they impacted your life at that time. No one comes into your life by accident, every one that crosses your path serves a purpose. Anon.

There are many quotes in life you hear and immediately equate to someone in your life. This quote is how we, at BCNA, feel about Rob Fincher. He was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, and reached out to our then CEO Christine Nolan to share his experiences as a man with breast cancer. She met Rob and was immediately taken with his story and his feeling of exclusion.

More than 160 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. In 1999 the first blue silhouette was planted in a Field of Women, when a man with breast cancer took a pink silhouette from our planting at Treasury Gardens in Melbourne. He took the silhouette home, cut the skirt off, painted it blue, and brought it back to the Field, telling us: “I am a man with breast cancer”. Since that moment, we have always had blue silhouettes in our Fields to represent men with breast cancer.

But it was Rob, who used his extraordinary communication skills and the power of his story, who has most influenced the way we now include men in our work. The way we provide better and more specific information for them. He didn’t yell or point a finger; he just worked with us. He highlighted the power of language and how our words mattered, he held us to account in our information forums and at our Summits.

In recent weeks I had the pleasure of spending the day with Rob and his beautiful wife, Annie. It was a day where we documented his story; one that we knew would be a legacy, a story he knew would help others. A story that can be used to help those men newly diagnosed, those who are dealing with a terminal illness, those who didn't think they needed help from a counsellor and those who are scared of death and dying.

It is a story that has so many messages that can impact our own lives. And that is what brings us back to our beginning. Rob was a man who came into our lives and made a substantial impact. And for that, we are eternally grateful. To Annie and the family – thank you for sharing a beautiful man with all of us. It was an absolute privilege.

Rob said he would haunt me if BCNA does not continue to be inclusive – and he did not just mean men. He told me “the pink doesn’t worry us, just use words that acknowledge us, continue to include us”.

So Rob, thank you for making an impact, for challenging us, for driving change, for improving us. Going forward, we promise to honour your contribution by always working to include everyone in our purpose.

- BCNA Chief Executive Officer Kirsten Pilatti

 

Watch Rob tell his story in the following video: