Nancy Jaynes, Visionary and Driver Behind the Indiana Breast Cancer License Plate
The Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust (IBCAT) began as the dream of Nancy Jaynes, who after completing yet another treatment step in her journey with breast cancer, began concentrating on her idea about a unique way to spread the message of hope.
She envisioned a specialty license plate that would serve as a moving billboard while raising money and public consciousness at the same time – a mobile reminder about the importance of early breast cancer detection and prevention.
Nancy Jaynes was a remarkable friend and a tireless and compassionate advocate for the cause.
The breast cancer license plate was her dream, and she worked tirelessly to make it a reality, from envisioning the plate to enlisting statewide support for its enactment. She proudly referred to the Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust board as “Passionate People of the Plate.” Today there are over 19,000 Indiana vehicles sporting the breast cancer license plate and serving as “rolling billboards” to heighten awareness about this terrible disease that strikes one in eight women.
The breast cancer license plate is among the most widely purchased special plates on Indiana’s roads,with $25 of the purchase price going directly to the IBCAT.
Since the license plate was first authorized for circulation in 2002, more than $5.5 million has been awarded in screening, diagnostic and support program grants. The impact of the money raised so far from the license plate has been significant: as of December 2019, tens of thousands of Hoosier women have received screening or diagnostic mammograms, with some, unfortunately, resulting in the unexpected diagnosis of breast cancer that may have otherwise gone undetected. Many of these same women diagnosed with breast cancer through our grant programs, and other resources have received support assistance while they underwent treatment. In 2019 alone, 389 Hoosiers received assistance with mortgage/rent payments, utilities, groceries, transportation, prosthesis, lymphedema supplies, and complementary therapies.
Early detection is critical to successful treatment of breast cancer, and thanks to the license plates’ success, thousands of other Hoosiers have received education on the importance of early detection.
Nancy Jaynes, who in 1997 was given only six weeks to live, passed away March 27, 2008, having long beaten the odds of her diagnosis. She woke up one morning with swollen glands under her arm, “like a bunch of grapes and a tingling and drawing sensation in my right breast,” she said.
It had been only 16 months since her last mammogram. She practiced regular self-breast exams and had no family history of breast cancer or any other reason to suspect anything was wrong. She put off going to the doctor for a few weeks. When she finally went, Nancy was diagnosed with an aggressive Stage 2 breast cancer. She underwent a modified radical mastectomy. But the cancer had metastasized. Twelve lymph nodes, eight of them cancerous, were removed.
She knew she needed more than her six weeks prognosis to live a mission to raise awareness. She lived her mission-driven life to the fullest for the nearly eleven more years she remained with us.
As a survivor of metastatic breast cancer, she served as a remarkable role model and wonderful testimony of faith. We are proud of her many special moments she enjoyed as a missionary against breast cancer.
Among her many notable accomplishments, Nancy:
- Modeled in the 2000 “Celebration of Hope” breast cancer survivors’ fashion show
- Saw her license plate dream turn into a reality with thousands of “rolling billboards” for breast cancer awareness
- Was selected to be a 2002 Winter Olympic torchbearer
- Was selected a 2008 Yoplait National Champion – one of only 25 in the country,
- Her “Dancing at Evan’s Wedding” was published in Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor’s Soul in 2006.
Her story refers to her dream to dance at her youngest son’s wedding some day. He was in the eighth grade when she passed away, but we’re sure when it’s time, she will be dancing in spirit.
After the initial roll-out of the breast cancer license plate, Nancy said,
“Life is a blessing. It’s time for me to give back to so many who have given to me.”
Nancy Jaynes, our friend and power behind the plate, indeed gave back, and is surely beaming from above at the impact of her dream. Her spirit will always be with the “Passionate People of the Plate.”