R.I.P.

05.23.13

Barbara Brenner, Breast-Cancer Advocate, Dies

Wanted her obituary to say that “she died after a long battle with the breast-cancer industry.”

Barbara Brenner, a longtime adversary of the breast-cancer establishment, died Monday. She was 61. Her partner of 38 years, Suzanne Lampert, said Brenner suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis as well as breast cancer, which was in remission. Brenner had championed causes most of her life before becoming the Breast Cancer Action’s first executive director in 1995, two years after undergoing treatment for the disease. She held that position until illness forced her to retire in 2010. Brenner was one of the first to question “pinkwashing,” or the proliferation of pink ribbons and corporations going pink to donate money to breast-cancer research—she urged customers to “think before you go pink” and instead to look at where their donations were going. She was unapologetic about her wars. In fact, Lambert said, “I always told her I would make sure her obituary said she died after a long battle with the breast-cancer industry.”