Evelyn's Story

Evelyn Calip is a Registered Nurse who was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2007. She has had three successful breast reconstruction surgeries and is cancer-free.

Evelyn was so impressed by the medical treatment, care, and support she received from Torrance Memorial Medical Center that she got a job there. At the medical center she came in contact with other women who were diagnosed with and received treatment for breast cancer.

She watched these women going through the same struggles that she had experienced herself. Evelyn remembered that regardless of efforts by family and friends to understand what she was going through, they couldn’t possibly know how she felt. Realizing that many women were in the same situation, she was inspired to create a group that would bring together women with breast cancer. In August 2009, "Evelyn's BFF (Breast Friends Forever)" was born. Every other month the group gathers for lunch, dinner or some type of daylong event.

Doing this in an informal setting reduces the loneliness, isolation, and feelings of judgment that the women often encounter. It promotes open, relaxed, and honest conversations about their feelings. These events have created friendships that lasted through surgery, recovery, and into survivorship.

Beginning with just eight members, Evelyn’s BFF currently has more than 100 "survivors", as Evelyn calls them, even though many are not yet cancer-free and unable to attend the events. In March 2011, Evelyn’s BFF was officially registered as a non-profit organization in the state of California and in June 2012 became a 501(c)(3) organization.