Celeste Lawson has been on a mission since her mother died from metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in 2019. MBC, also known as Stage 4 or advanced breast cancer, currently has no cure. Her work raising awareness of this disease led to Governor Kim Reynolds signing a proclamation proclaiming October 13, 2022 as Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day in Iowa. 

According to data collected by the Iowa Cancer Registry (ICR) for the Cancer in Iowa 2021 report, White women have the highest incidence rates and Black women have the highest death rates. It is estimated that Black women, like Celeste Lawson’s mother, have a 40% greater chance of dying from this disease. Approximately 30% of early-stage breast cancer survivors will have a recurrence as Stage 4 MBC. 

Pink has become the universal color for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but pink alone is not as impactful in the MBC community because less than 5% of the funds raised for breast cancer research is spent on studies of metastasis. According to Jamil Rivers, METAvivor Research and Support’s Board President, 100% of all donations they receive go to funding MBC research. METAvivor also designed and trademarked the tri-color ribbon with the colors teal, green and pink, symbolizing hope, immortality, healing and spirituality. As part of the #LightUpMBC campaign, more than 200 national and international landmarks will be shining a light on MBC. For the first time, Laura Inahara, founder of #LightUpMBC, confirmed that Iowa will have the most landmarks/entities lighting up in honor of MBC.

Locally, the Skybridge in Davenport will be lit up with green lights. The Capitol Theater marquee in Burlington will display a special message. The Muscatine water tower and the Norbert F. Beckey Bridge will be lit up with green, teal and pink lights, the colors of metastatic breast cancer awareness. In Iowa City, the Ped Mall stage canopy, the Public Works Building and the Vue Rooftop will be lit with the colors of metastatic breast cancer awareness. and the Englert Theatre marquee will display a message. In Cedar Rapids, the Third Avenue Bridge lights, Alliant Energy Tower and Eastbank Venue & Lounge will be lit, while Cedar River Tower Apartments will be lit with green and teal lights.

To learn more about METAvivor Research and Support and the 2022 #LightUpMBC participating cities, click here.