Like a bell that rings to mark the end of school and the beginning of summer vacation, so too are the words “We will see you at your follow-up appointment.” Treatments are complete, and there is a sense of excitement—an exhilaration that you’ve made it. Then, without notice, feelings of uncertainty and lonesomeness can creep up. After breast cancer treatment, many women ponder the question: “What now?”
For several months—sometimes longer, a support team of family, friends, medical professionals and other breast cancer patients who shared the same treatment day is no longer there. Loved ones feel that the cancer is over, and want to resume life as it had been pre-cancer. The medical professionals that were seen regularly will now be seen only at follow-up visits. And the relationships forged with other patients who shared the same “chemo-day” wane as a result of “treatment graduation.”
We plan our programs to help these survivors transition from a treatment routine. Our programs on nutrition and fitness provide them with resources they need to rebuild their bodies’ immune systems and regain their strength for life’s ordinary tasks. Our spa days give them an opportunity to relax and learn to take over the care of their bodies from the health professionals who have been there for them. Healing arts programs help them to express emotions they have not acknowledged or shared. Through events such as our annual fashion show, survivors can realize that they are still beautiful. Through volunteer opportunities, they are able to “pay it forward” to other women and families who have been touched by this disease. Flames of Hope: A Celebration of Life™ is our major statewide event in October, and it brings all those we have met in each region and provides a moment for each and every breast cancer patient, survivor, family member, friend and caregiver, professional or not, to celebrate their lives in a big way.
Although more patients survive breast cancer than ever before, the difficult reality is that there are still people who will lose their battles against breast cancer. That is why the Foundation has made Hospice training available to its team and survivors to help those who may lose the fight to breast cancer. We create moments for them to celebrate life even as they move on.
Our vision is to provide regional education and support opportunities so that all women and men in Greater Rhode Island can incorporate good breast health practices into their lives; receive needed support during treatment, in whatever form that may be; and live healthier lives from end of treatment and beyond.
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