Map of Destiny is the true story of an ordinary Long Island housewife, Lorraine Pace, who got breast cancer and then learned that 20 of her neighbors also suffered from the disease. But when she realized that the medical and science “establishments” didn’t believe in “clusters,” she got mad and set about to prove them wrong.


With no background in science or political advocacy, she single-handedly mobilized her oncologist and local health department to design a study; her community newspaper to publish the study’s results; the neighborhood hospital to provide publicity; 18 friends and neighbors to collate the data; a university epidemiologist to analyze the data; and both regional and national politicians to back her efforts.


At the same time, numerous “grass-roots” breast-cancer advocacy groups on Long Island were protesting the results of a study that claimed there was no relationship between environmental toxins and breast cancer. Since the region had been widely recognized as having among the highest incidences of breast cancer in the nation, they started to demand a federal study.


Lorraine’s mapping project coincided with the call for a new study and she became one of its most impassioned advocates -- traveling to Washington, D.C. and Albany, N.Y., to lobby elected officials, deliver petitions and testify before Congressional committees.


But her mapping project -- the first of its kind in the world -- remained her priority, in spite of problems and setbacks, “real life” emergencies, clashes with competing advocacy groups and internecine battles among the mapping participants themselves that often threatened to derail the project.


Lorraine’s “better mousetrap” of an idea has resonated with thousands of people throughout the country and the world, many who feel for the first time in their lives that they can take some control and “do something” to solve the mystery of the breast cancer.



"Map of Destiny is a great book that demonstrates how one person can make a difference. Lorraine Pace kept at it and made the powers-that-be listen and take action by bringing together the science, politics and people to create a better understanding of the need to keep toxic chemicals out of the environment. The world needs more Kitchen Revolutionaries!”

Lois Gibbs, grassroots leader at Love Canal and Executive Director of The Center for Health, Environment and Justice


“I was privileged to be a part of Long Island’s still-ongoing fight to find a cause and cure for breast cancer and to meet activists like Lorraine Pace and her colleagues who wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

Senator Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY)


“God bless Lorraine Pace for her courage and determination and for recognizing the important role the environment plays in human health. Her persistence was the fuel for her fiery passion to find answers.”

Bernadette Castro, New York State Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation


Lorraine Pace is a courageous woman. Stricken with breast cancer, she not only overcame that dreaded disease in her own life, she became a leader in the struggle against breast cancer for all women. In “Map of Destiny,” Joan Swirsky chronicles all that Lorraine Pace has achieved and why everyone – women and men – must be eternally grateful to her.”

Congressman Peter T. King (R-NY)