Celebrating the Extraordinary Life of Dr. Eugene Thiessen

We are sad to share the news that our Founder, Dr. Eugene Thiessen passed away last month, but we remain eternally inspired by his passion and vision. Some people’s lives create a ripple effect, inspiring a powerful impact far beyond those they personally touch. Dr. Thiessen lived one of those extraordinary lives. 

A renowned breast oncologist, Gene brought SHARE to life in 1976 when he announced on a radio program that he would host a conversation for women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. 

He didn’t want anyone to face this disease alone, and he believed patients could support each other if they had a chance to meet. As Ina Thiessen, his wife explained, “These women didn’t have anyone to talk to after they left the hospital, and they were left with pressing questions and thoughts.” 

Twelve women arrived at his office that evening, bringing their fears, experiences and hopes with them. The power of Dr. Thiessen’s idea of women with breast cancer supporting each other fueled the launch of SHARE. He and Ina, and their daughter Jordyn, joined forces with many volunteers to bring SHARE to an ever widening circle of women who needed cancer support. Nearly 48 years later, SHARE touches 350,000 people every year. We host virtual Support Groups in English, Spanish, and now Chinese for those diagnosed with gynecologic cancers as well as breast cancer. We produce over 175 educational webinars that are viewed around the world. OurHelpline is available in numerous languages. We have teams of Ambassadors who bring awareness and education to under-resourced communities.

As we appreciate Dr. Thiessen’s extraordinary impact, all of us at SHARE dedicate ourselves to bringing his vision to life. Because no one should have to face breast or gynecologic cancer alone!

To view a short interview with Dr. Eugene and Ina Thiessen, please click here.

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