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Michelle’s Place Celebrates 15 Years


Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center will be entering its 15th year of service to women and families impacted by breast cancer, beginning November 15, 2015.  Founded in 2001, Michelle’s Place has been a beacon of hope for thousands of individuals fighting breast cancer, by providing free resources, education and support services.

“Michelle’s vision of a center for women and families to receive support, hope and a listening ear has become a living reality far beyond our dreams,” said Bill and Marilyn Watson, Michelle’s parents and founding executive board members.

It was just over fifteen years ago that the Watson family founded Michelle’s Place, in memory of their daughter Michelle who died from breast cancer at 26 years old. Knowing there was a better, more inclusive way that people impacted by breast cancer could live with hope and support, Michelle’s Place was founded to fill that need on a local and more intimate level.

“When Michelle’s Place was first opened, it was something important for our Family to honor and remember Michelle by helping women and their families cope with breast cancer,” said Leilani Watson Eazell, Michelle’s sister. “Now fifteen years later, Michelle’s Place not only continues to help women, but is also a leading breast cancer advocate. Michelle would be so proud, as are we! Thank you to everyone that has made Michelle’s Place what it started out as, what it is today and what it will be tomorrow.”

During its 15 year tenure, Michelle’s Place has provided more than 90,000 services to women and families throughout Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. On average, Michelle’s Place sees over 70 newly diagnosed clients a month, many of whom are under 40 years old. The approach is client-centered, with each receiving individualized attention, guidance, and care during the breast cancer diagnosis and treatment process. At Michelle’s Place, the women and families enter a safe environment where they can find answers to questions and gain much needed support in a consistent, nurturing environment that fosters healing, growth, empowerment, and enhanced quality of life.

“In the next 15 years and beyond, Michelle’s Place will continue to be guided by our core principal, which is to serve our community so that no one has to face cancer alone. Our hope is for a future where our services are no longer needed. In the meantime, we will work to build on the foundation we have established in our first 15 years to broaden our reach and implement new services. We will strive to meet these needs in a way that builds on our legacy,” said Wayne Watson, Michelle’s brother, and founding executive board member.

Michelle’s Place is known today as a growing nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower individuals and families impacted by breast cancer through education and support services. With eight staff members supporting thousands of individuals with cancer each year, Michelle’s wish of a local breast cancer resource center is a thriving reality.