Akebonokai (the 'Dawn Association') is the Japanese breast cancer patients' association, founded by Takako Watt in 1978.
The association covers the whole of Japan, with over 4,000 members in over 30 local branches. We are almost all lay people who have had breast cancer, and we receive support and advice from individual doctors, nurses, and administrators. It is funded by members' subscriptions.
Akebonokai's objectives are to help women who have breast cancer to get back to a normal life after their operation, and raise public awareness about breast cancer. From the beginning, the atmosphere among members has been positive, lively, and future-oriented.
As one of the first 'self-help' groups in Japan Akebonokai has become a model for other organizations and associations, and in the last ten years, it has developed ties with other patients' associations both domestic and international.
Across the world, many thousands of women have benefited from the information about breast cancer, practical help, and psychological support provided by Reach to Recovery International. This activity includes visiting breast cancer patients in hospital, and in the same way, Akebonokai volunteers have been visiting newly operated patients since 1993, upon their request, in cooperating hospitals (Akebonokai Breast Cancer Support Service -- ABCSS).