Juliana Cochnar learned that her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer while Juliana was out traveling the world for two years. When she stopped in Australia, she called her mother, Barbara, who shared the news. The first thing Cochnar said to her mother was, "I'm coming home to help you," but her mother had a different outlook. "Oh, no you're not. You're staying and doing what I can't do." Months later, when her travels were finished, Juliana returned home to her mother's side.
What happened to Cochnar from her travels and witnessing her mother's challenges made her aware of life's bigger picture. "I had to give back," she said, seated across from me at a San Francisco sidewalk café. "More women were going to struggle with this disease." It's not an uncommon path, individuals moved to make a change in the world when someone they love is struck with adversity. But what Cochnar found when she set out to make a difference was that things took on a life of their own.