Patricia Washburn spent a good part of her career as a Certified Nursing Assistant, caring for others with the enormous compassion and dedication she pours into everything she does. That experience undoubtedly helped prepare her what she didn’t know would come next: becoming the caregiver for her husband Marlyn after he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer in December of 2016. He died just five months after his initial diagnosis at the age of 66, and Pat vowed to do whatever she could to make sure that others would know that “men get breast cancer, too.”
She turned Marlyn’s 2014 Dodge Dart, the last car he purchased, into a custom-wrapped “moving billboard” that helps publicize critical awareness messages about male breast cancer. To date, Pat and the “Marlyn Mobile” have traveled 80,000 miles on “awareness” trips all over the United States. The longest was in August 2021, when Pat and Male Breast Cancer Global Alliance Founder & President Cheri Ambrose traveled more than 8,500 miles in the Marlyn Mobile on a month-long, 15-state, 40+ city “whistle stop” road trip to increase awareness about breast cancer in men. Covering the region from the Mississippi to the West Coast, they met with more than 50 men at all stages of breast cancer, as well as their caregivers, their families, and other male breast cancer advocates, doctors and cancer organizations.
Pat’s loss has inspired her to become one of the MBCGA’s most active and vocal advocates. In recognition of her work and commitment, she was appointed Male Breast Cancer Global Alliance Ambassador, and was recently asked to serve as the MBCGA Board Secretary. She regularly represents MBCGA at major breast cancer-related conferences such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), and at meetings and health events across the U.S. and abroad. She is also very committed to supporting other caregivers, and is an active volunteer for AnCan (Answer Cancer), a peer-to-peer organization that provides advocacy, navigation and support to caregivers of those living with serious and chronic conditions, as well as caregivers who are recently bereaved.