When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, it turns her world upside down. In most families, the woman is the primary caregiver, the keeper of the family’s health. She experiences a myriad of emotions – fear, worry, and anger among them. Countless questions can come in rapid succession: “Why me?” “Am I going to die?” “Will I lose my hair?” “Will I get sick from the chemotherapy?” As the caretaker, she doesn’t want to burden her family and friends with what is to come. Sometimes she will share her feelings with her spouse or partner, or her adult children, or best friend, or pastor. Many times she just wants to know what to expect in her journey or what factors to use when making decisions about her treatment. A conversation with a breast cancer survivor can help, because no one understands what she is going through more than someone who has been there.
We design our programs to provide opportunities for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients to speak with survivors. We have support groups facilitated by professional counselors, where they can meet other newly diagnosed patients and long-term survivors, who share their fears, worries, anger and hope. These groups are offered at our Center, on our Hope Bus and at local hospitals. Other programs offered regionally include yoga classes, spa days, and healing arts programs. These provide a more informal atmosphere where women can share their feelings without intending or expecting to talk with someone else. Many times these encounters result in special friendships, even “sisterhood.”
For some women the need may be resource based. We maintain a complete list of resources on our website, as well as an abundance of information at our Center and on our Hope Bus to help direct patients and survivors to appropriate resources. We offer information on everything from reputable wig and prostheses shops to information on cancer treatments. Our goal is to carry or ease some of the decision making and burdens that can be obstacles, which add stress to their journeys.
Breast cancer is a family disease. Many times a spouse, child, parent, sibling and even a friend may have a difficult time acknowledging a diagnosis of breast cancer. Their experience of the disease is different from the loved ones and so their needs are different. Our programs and services are available to those whose lives are touched by a breast cancer diagnosis.
The Foundation’s team is always ready to listen, to encourage, and in some cases, just give hugs or hold a hand. As the team develops programs, it is always with the goal of letting breast cancer patients and survivors know they are not alone. We are here to help them from diagnosis to end of their treatment.
To raise breast cancer awareness, increase breast health education, enhance the quality of life for breast cancer patients, as well as their families and friends, and generate funding for local breast health programs