So much support from so many people…
People comment to me all the time about how much I am doing about breast cancer–and I know I am but there are so many people out there doing so much. Maybe this is the case with all diseases but it seems to be more with breast cancer. I’m guessing it’s because so many of us are affected in our 30s, or even in our 20s, once we beat this disease, we want to make things better for the people that come after us. I’m going to share some great examples of ones I have come across and if you know of others, please post a comment. I know it’s comforting to people recently diagnosed and going through treatment to see others out there who have faced the same thing and inevitably come out stronger.
Early on in my diagnosis, my mom came across the pink fund. Ironically, I had met Molly MacDonald in a business meeting several years earlier. From her energy at the time, I wasn’t the least bit surprised that she had gone on to start a truly unique organization. The pink fund gives short-term financial help to people going through breast cancer simply by visiting a social worker at their hospital. As a survivor, I proudly where my pink fund hat to show my support for this great organization.
More recently, I was sent a website from an old college friend. Her friend, Pamela Schein, also went through breast cancer at a young age and realized that massage therapy during chemotherapy sessions could provide much needed comfort and relief during an uncomfortable time. After her experience in 2006, she founded the R.E.S.T. Initiative.
30 years ago, breast cancer network of strength (formerly Y-Me) was founded at a kitchen table by the late Ann Marcou and Mimi Kaplan. I wrote briefly about this in a earlier post. These two women wanted to make sure that people do not go through breast cancer alone. They started a 24 hour, 7 day a week, resource for breast cancer patients; the phones are staffed by survivors. When you can’t sleep because you are terrified of what lies ahead, how cool to be able to pick up the phone at 2:00 in the morning and talk to a survivor.
I’ve posted often about an organization that is very near to my heart, not only because it touches on my situation, but because it also addresses issues beyond breast cancer. It’s a powerful organization started by an amazing woman. While I have yet to meet Sue Friedman in person, I’ve spoken to her and seen what she has to offer. FORCE (Facing our risk of Cancer Empowered) offers so much to women with cancer and to those affected by the possibility of cancer. I look forward to dedicating much of my time to helping this organization both locally and nationally.
The last organization I must mention was founded by a truly special young man. After going through testicular cancer, Johnny Imerman formed Imerman Angels While he helps breast cancer patients, he also helps other patients. It is truly amazing to me how many people have been touched by Imerman Angels. Johnny’s goal is that no one should go through cancer alone. He matches people with similar cancers and life situations to provide one-on-one support. It is through Johnny that I met one of the strongest and most positive survivors I know–Teresa Stankoff. Teresa and I share our passion for helping breast cancer patients, and she is my co-outreach coordinator for our local FORCE outreach group.
I know there are so many other organizations out there–certainly the bigs ones like Susan G. Komen and American Cancer Society. If I’ve missed some truly unique small ones that could benefit my readers, please post a comment. If you have had direct experiences with any of these organizations, I also invite you to post a comment.
All of these organizations were formed out of a desire of people hoping to make a path a little bit easier for others. Truly an act of love, kindness and humanity. We are blessed by those who have come before us to make our lives easier. So, yes, I’m doing a lot, but certainly no more than others have done. My life has been touched and enriched by other survivors, and now it is my turn to touch and enrich the lives of others.