Difference Makers: East Bay cancer survivor partners with brewery to raise awareness

An East Bay breast cancer survivor is exploring new ways to raise money for the cause during the COVID-19 crisis.

Sandy Preto’s organization, Notes4Hope, typically holds a concert every October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But with health restrictions in place, they won’t be allowed to host large gatherings.

"We haven't been able to do any events at all. We build our community around the healing power of music, so it's impacted our organization in that way," Preto said.

To make up for the loss, Notes4Hope is partnering with Canyon Club Brewery in Moraga to create a custom beer called FUCANCER IPA.

It’s available October 1.

The crew at Canyon Club Brewery in Moraga show off their "Oktoberbrest" t-shirts.
The crew at Canyon Club Brewery in Moraga show off their "Oktoberbrest" t-shirts. Photo credit Carrie Hodousek/KCBS Radio

"It's a special full body IPA that we make," explained Canyon Club Brewery owner Kevin Hamilton.

All proceeds will go to Notes4Hope and their mission to support breast cancer prevention.

"People are getting a little strange right now because they're losing socialization and the ability go out to eat and be with friends. We're just trying to get more people out," Hamilton told KCBS Radio.

They’ve deemed the month of October as “Oktoberbrest.” By eliminating a large concert setting, they’re still able to welcome people to sit socially distant from each other at the brewery and talk about the important issues.

"I think more people have conversations just sitting around having a beer," Hamilton said. "I think it's a catalyst for having these conversations and a reason to get together."

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, fewer people have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Preto said that’s because not as many people are getting tested.

"Our concern is that post-pandemic we might see a surge of diagnosis and people going through treatment, so we want to be prepared," she said.

Over two dozen kegs will be served across the Bay Area, not just at Canyon Club. They’ll have live music at the brewery throughout the month of October.

"We don't want people to forget cancer is out there," Preto said. "I know cancer hasn't forgotten that."

If you know someone who is working to keep us safe during the coronavirus pandemic and would like to nominate them as a KCBS Radio Difference Maker,​ email us at differencemakers@kcbsradio.com.