Knowledge, support and sisterhood – the power of BRA Day

Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day at St. Joseph’s Hospital on Oct. 25 is a special event that allows women to learn about their options, see results first hand, and feel empowered by the experience of others.

London, Ontario - It’s so much more than people at a podium. Those who attend Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day at St. Joseph’s Hospital will be immersed in a sisterhood of support and a sense of community like no other. And they will leave with knowledge gained directly from experts on the frontlines of care, and those who have been through it all.

This is the power of BRA Day hosted by St. Joseph’s Breast Care Program, which returns to in person event after a three-year pause during the pandemic.

“We want patients to walk away from this event feeling a little less alone and empowered regarding their options,” says Dr. Tanya DeLyzer, a plastic surgeon who will be among the presenters at BRA Day. “When they leave, we hope they have the information they need to help them with the difficult decisions ahead.”

BRA Day is a national campaign to promote education, awareness and access for women who may wish to consider breast reconstruction post-mastectomy. In particular, it is geared to women considering prophylactic mastectomy, those who have already had their mastectomy and are seeking delayed reconstruction, and women with an active diagnosis of breast cancer and awaiting treatment. They are welcome to bring loved ones and caregivers.

Those who attend will learn about the various breast reconstruction options from St. Joseph’s surgeons and can view real results first hand in the women’s only ‘show and tell’ lounge where 20 women “models” have volunteered to share their experience - and outcomes - with breast reconstruction. Attendees will also discover the “Circle of Sharing”, a unique support group for women who have undergone breast reconstruction.

"The models, volunteers and staff are very committed to BRA Day,” says Gillian Milcz, nurse navigator with St. Joseph’s Breast Care Program. “A sense of camaraderie, comfort and empowerment emanates from the Show and Tell Lounge as individuals explore opportunities for breast reconstruction. There is nothing more powerful than the experiences of those who have walked before you."

Dr. DeLyzer will be joined by Dr. Sarah Appleton, Dr. Sarah Knowles and Dr. Aaron Grant - all members of the Breast Care Program’s surgical team - in talking about reconstruction as well as non-reconstruction and alternative options.

“I participate in this event because I believe it is important for women to understand the options available,” says Dr. DeLyzer. “Each patient has unique options available to them, and gaining information around the choices is empowering and helps them make the best decisions for them.”

Being among other patients and meeting the nurses and surgeons who may be involved in their care is also integral to BRA Day, says Dr. Knowles, Medical Director of St. Joseph’s Breast Care Program.

Exhibitors, she says, add to the information provided by the surgeons and former patients, providing resources on everything from nipple tattooing to physiotherapy and options for prosthesis.

“There are so many resources outside of what we offer that are valuable to patients,” says Dr. Knowles.

Women who attend BRA Day “have been through so much and the options for breast reconstruction can be overwhelming,” adds Dr. DeLyzer. “It’s important to be able to receive information first-hand, ask questions and be connected to community and resources.”

BRA Day on Oct. 25 at St. Joseph’s Hospital is free but registration is required. Exhibits open at 6 pm with speakers starting at 7:00 pm, followed by the opportunity to visit the show-and-tell lounge. Learn more on St. Joseph’s website.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Dahlia Reich, Communication Consultant

St. Joseph’s Health Care London

519 646-6100 ext. 65294, Cell: 519 619-0971


About St. Joseph’s Health Care London Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s Health Care London is a leading academic health care centre in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimizing the effects of injury, disease and disability through excellence in care, teaching and research. Through partnership with Lawson Health Research Institute and our collaborative engagement with other health care and academic partners, St. Joseph’s has become an international leader in the areas of chronic disease management; medical imaging; specialized mental health care; rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics; and surgery. St. Joseph’s operates through a wide range of hospital, clinic and long-term and community-based settings, including: St. Joseph’s Hospital; Parkwood Institute; Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care; and the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care.

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