Loading...

Follow National Breast Cancer Foundation Blog By Janel.. on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

In celebration of National Teacher Day, we’re sharing the story of Beth Shelton, an Algebra II teacher who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. Beth continued to teach throughout her breast cancer journey which inspired her students, co-workers, and all who met her.

The following article was published in the Marcus High School newspaper, The Marquee, by student Rachel Ramirez in 2014.  

Smiling at the doctor, Algebra ll teacher Beth Shelton left the treatment room, got in her car and headed to school. Knowing this treatment had been lighter than most, she felt comfortable returning to teach her afternoon classes. Since her doctor had agreed with her decision, she attempted to continue her day as normally as possible. However, when she began teaching, it was clear something was wrong. Instead of receiving nods of recognition from her students, she watched them whisper quietly and compare notes.

“The doctor told me that I would be fine, but I seemed to be very scattered,” Shelton said. “I was okay with explaining, but then I would make a mistake.”

As she looked back over her work with a frown, she noticed a mistake she made in the problem on the board. Laughing, she shook her head and erased the work while apologizing to her students. Shelton had fallen prey to yet another episode of “chemo brain”, a side effect of her chemotherapy. It’s all part of her journey with breast cancer.

The goal of normalcy has been a common theme in her journey even from her initial diagnosis. Despite her recent biopsy in June, she didn’t allow the impending results to keep her tied down. Instead, she traveled to New Mexico’s highest mountain peak. She did what she loves - mountain climbing. Wheeler Peak was number 18 in her journey to climb the highest peak in every state. Working her way up to the summit at 13,159 feet was a difficult yet rewarding task, especially with the breast cancer diagnosis on her mind. Yet once she reached the top and was overlooking the desert surrounding her, it became an afterthought.

“Even though I knew I had the lump and I figured it was probably something that I was going to have to have surgery on, I was so determined to get to the top of that peak,” Shelton said.

During the car ride back from Wheeler Peak, Shelton called the doctor and asked about the results. The biopsy revealed she had Stage 2B breast cancer. It was a generally treatable form, but it had spread to her lymph nodes. It would require a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. A lumpectomy meant that the surgery would only remove the cancerous tumor and not any other tissue. However, chemotherapy has significant side effects like digestive stress and swelling of the hands and feet that can last for several days. Days she couldn’t miss at school.

“The cost is really something you think about, and then the time,” Shelton said.

Many questions ran through her mind. Shelton was suddenly faced with the possibility of having to quit her job. Her first chemotherapy session was before teacher in-service started for the new school year. After discovering that her treatment had the potential to be manageable and worked into her teaching schedule, she knew she had to stay.

Continuing teaching while battling cancer may seem daunting to some, but not to Shelton. She said that while many would consider taking some time off to handle cancer in the comfort of their own homes, she prefers being in class with her students. Working is a distraction that helps her cope with her illness.

“When I’m at home I’m just thinking about myself and my condition,” Shelton said. “When I’m here I can do my job and I don’t have to dwell on my little symptoms.”

With the help of her fellow math teachers and her substitute, Bill, Shelton has arranged to miss the least amount of days possible to be there for her students. Since she typically takes five days to recover from a treatment, she schedules them for Wednesdays and also misses Thursday and Friday. By Monday, she’s ready to come back and continue her lessons. When she can’t be there, the students use technology to receive specific help.

“I’ll be sitting in the chemo chair answering their questions,” Shelton said. “I’m available for the kids at all hours and I felt like I needed to do that because of the times that I wouldn’t be here.”

Through these exchanges, students are able to email questions to Shelton when she isn’t present in class. She uses teaching apps to work out problems and send copies of work back to her students. While her plan has been relatively smooth, it has hit some bumps along the way. Two unplanned days were needed when her recovery period took longer than anticipated. However, she says she’s grateful for how everyone took initiative on her behalf.

“Everybody just handled it beautifully and I’m just very thankful,” Shelton said. “I’m very thankful to be around such support.”

Part of the support she’s received here at the school has come from her fellow Algebra II teacher, Dorothy. Dorothy said the two of them have become close friends over the past few years working next door to each other.

“I knew she had a good support system,” Dorothy said. “I knew she was otherwise a healthy human being, and so I thought she had a really good chance to overcome this.”

Financial concerns, taxing treatments and traumatizing health issues cannot only jeopardize health, but also marriages. However, her husband, Mark Shelton, has been a vital supporter. Shelton said her diagnosis has actually aided their marriage. Previously, both had been concerned with issues they now find rather trivial. Shelton has also found that her husband has stepped up without complaint to take care of tasks she can no longer complete, such as tending to their yard, a favorite pastime.

“I couldn’t imagine going through this without him and unfortunately I knew people who were going through breast cancer that were also going through a divorce,” Shelton said.

 While she has been met with a lot of support, Shelton has also faced disappointments in her journey. During one appointment, she received a prescription for a wig. That moment seemed to solidify the reality of her diagnosis. No longer was this hypothetical, it was really going to happen.

 “Of course one of the first things that blew me away was when I was handed the prescription for a wig,” Shelton said. “I started crying because, I don’t know, it just hits you.”

Prior to her diagnosis, Shelton had one go-to treatment for bad days: food. Particularly chocolate. “Chemo taste” is yet another side effect of the chemotherapy. This alters the taste of food, often deterring Shelton from wanting to eat. However, she makes an effort to maintain a healthy diet, even when it’s not appetizing.

“I do try to cut out added sugar and desserts and fried foods and stuff like that,” Shelton said. “I try to eat even though food doesn’t taste good to me right now.”

Shelton understands that it’s not easy to remain positive. She knows that chemical imbalances in her body and other contributing factors sometimes cause her to feel depressed. While she understands that her prognosis is good, she does have one concern for her future.

“I guess if I had to say I had a fear it would be that [the cancer] would come back,” Shelton said. “I don’t let myself dwell on that.”

Chemo is a draining process, but Shelton aims to make it less so by intentionally seeking laughter. She enters the treatment room with a smile and makes sure she’s watching a funny movie while receiving the infusion. Even after her treatment, Shelton requires herself to make laughter a priority in her life.

“If I’m at home and I haven’t laughed in a while, I’ll get on YouTube and watch funny videos, things to make me laugh,” Shelton said. “I feel like an important part of my treatment is that I keep laughing and keep my sense of humor.”

Shelton’s last chemo treatment is November 19. After that, she will focus on her radiation, which she understands won’t be quite as taxing.

“That’s when my hair starts to grow back, that’s when I lose the ‘chemo taste’ in my mouth,” Shelton said. “So I’m looking forward to after Thanksgiving when I’ll get Beth back.”

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Editor’s Note: This post was written by our Founder/CEO, Janelle Hail.

We need to silence the voices in our heads that say mammograms are not necessary.  Statistics from the American Cancer Society say breast cancer death rates are down 39% since 1989, attributed to both improvements in treatment and early detection by mammograms.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 34. Early detection saved my life! Mammograms are an intrical part of survival tools for women today.

Five years after my original diagnosis of breast cancer, I received a call from my doctor’s nurse with news from a routine mammogram.

“Janelle, there’s an irregularity on your mammogram, and the doctor wants you to come back for further testing,” she said.

“Should I be worried?”

“You know how it is, Janelle. You’re in the business of mammograms. You know they won’t sign off on it unless they are sure everything is OK.”

I clicked off my cell phone and slowly walked down the hall from my office to conduct a meeting. The same ugly fear flooded my mind. Am I going to die this time?

The instant we step into the unknown, everything in us wants to scream out, “I don’t want to be here!”

Because we are women, we are vulnerable to breast cancer. Life keeps making demands on us. The children need to be picked up from school, the laundry is stacking up, and the car needs gas. We find time to do everything necessary, but why do we postpone getting a mammogram? A mammogram can detect a lump two years before it is detectable to the touch.

Many women I meet say they are afraid to get a mammogram because of what they can find. It all goes back to fear. Fear of the unknown. Let’s get rid of these unhealthy thoughts with a plan of action. 

NO FEAR PLAN

F-Find medical help as soon as you discover something different about your breasts, such as a nipple discharge, a dimpling of the tissue, a redness, or other unusual symptoms.

E-End bad habits such as overeating, excessive alcohol, smoking, and other things that deteriorate your health.

A-Allow other people to surround you with care and help. Our website, www.BeyondTheShock.com has a support group and medically correct information about breast cancer to guide you through your journey for answers.

R-Run away from bad attitudes and unhealthy thoughts that fuel the fire of fear.

It is time to live your life free of fear and anxiety. At NBCF, we are here to help you with education and services. Instead of dreading mammograms, let’s embrace the opportunity for good health.

Today is National Mammography Day! Live life!

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

People often ask whether Breast Cancer Awareness efforts are still necessary since so many people are already aware of the disease.  Yet every day we meet women who still have more to learn about their breast health. Supporters like you are helping women receive critical breast health education and empowering them to know how to use it.  Here’s the story of two women who were already quite knowledgeable about breast health, but they still learned something new:

We recently met Elizabeth, 39, and her daughter Adrianna, 17, at the Convoy of Hope event in San Antonio, Texas.  They did not plan to attend, but they rushed there after seeing a family member’s Facebook post about the event.

Elizabeth works in the medical field, and Adrianna had already learned about breast care. Still, they were both surprised by some of the information they learned in the tent. Elizabeth didn’t realize how much pressure is needed to detect a lump or that breast lumps can vary in size.  

Adrianna knew how to perform a breast self-exam, but she didn’t realize the importance of changing positions.  Knowing how your breasts look and feel both in the shower and lying down will help you notice changes you may need to address with your doctor.  Adrianna also said she would begin checking herself more often after her time in the NBCF tent.

If you could use a refresher on your breast health education or want more information—like Elizabeth and Adrianna received— download our free eBook, 3 Steps to Early Detection, today.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

When we sent out an email asking supporters to share their personal stories of how breast cancer has changed their lives, Frances Lopez of Maryland eagerly responded. Here’s her story of how breast cancer became a part of her life—twice—to the surprise of her doctor:

My breast cancer journey began in 1998 when I was 48 years old, living in Rhode Island. I was having pain in my left breast. It was unusual and I remember thinking, “something is wrong.”  My doctor assured me, saying, “I don’t think it is cancer, but let’s get a mammogram and an ultrasound because it could be a cyst.” The mammogram showed nothing, but the ultrasound did. That was followed by a biopsy and waiting.

The day the doctor called me to come into the hospital to meet with her, I knew it was cancer.

She began with, “I know I told you it wasn’t cancer, but…”  

At this point we both began to cry, followed by her telling me how sorry she was.  I truly believe a higher power brought me to that place and that doctor. The rest is history: surgery, radiation, and diligence on my part to get regular exams and tests.

The story doesn’t end there. In 2004, after a routine mammogram and ultrasound the same result happened—this time on the opposite breast.

These experiences made me realize breast cancer is a part of my life. It doesn’t control me but it propels me forward, even though family members and friends all around me have died from this disease. I am the lucky one, but I never let my guard down because breast cancer doesn’t fight fair, and I will always listen to that little voice inside me when it says, “something is wrong!”

Immediately after her second lumpectomy, Frances’ surgeon surprised her with the suggestion that she should have had a total mastectomy instead.  She found herself thinking it was a little late for that prescription.  They again discussed her options and risks, and ultimately Frances decided not to put herself through another surgery so soon, instead electing to remain vigilant about monitoring her breast health.  Thankfully, she’s been cancer free in both breasts in the 13 years since.

Frances’ family has been touched by breast cancer many times.  Her oldest sister died at 70 of metastatic breast cancer that was found in her brain several years after her mastectomy.  Frances’ paternal grandmother and an aunt also had breast cancer.  However, Frances and her three sisters all tested negative for known genetic mutations, so her diagnosis still came as a shock.

Frances’ story is a powerful reminder of the importance of being aware of your own breast health and being proactive when something doesn’t seem right.  We thank her for sharing her story.  To learn how you can be more mindful of your own breast health, request a free copy of our eBook, What Every Woman Needs to Know, today.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

 Editor’s Note: This post was written by our Marketing Manager, Rebecca Anderson.

We recently learned that another of the nine beautiful women who attended our first Metastatic Breast Cancer Retreat last April has passed away.  It’s been just one year and now three of the attendees are no longer with us. This news was a heart-crushing reminder of the relentless nature of Stage 4 breast cancer.  Our blog series last year defined metastatic breast cancer as “cancer that will be a part of your life…for the rest of your life.”  

As we learned of yet another woman gone too soon, our friend and retreat visionary, Lillie Shockney, uplifted us with this poem by Henry Van Dyke:        

I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch until at last she hangs
like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says,
“There she goes!”

Gone where?
Gone from my sight … that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment
when someone at my side says,
“There she goes!”

There are other eyes watching her coming …
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout …
“Here she comes!”

We hope for the day metastatic breast cancer will be eradicated and no more lives will be lost to this terrible disease.  Yet, for now, these verses remind us that while a person’s body may be overcome by cancer, her impact in our lives is never overcome.  As I reflect on the three hopeful women from last year’s retreat who’ve since passed away, I still remember their serene smiles, their honest revelations about their diagnoses, their fears about the future, and their wishes that their loved ones wouldn’t have to suffer in losing them.  I only spent 48 hours with them, but in that time I heard their laughs, received their hugs, and was inspired by their joy and hope in the midst of their fears.  If these women’s sails still loom so large in my own thoughts, how much more must each of them remain “an object of beauty and strength” in the hearts of her loved ones?

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

We recently celebrated our third annual Legends Pink Night with the Texas Legends, our local NBA Development League team.  Just like in 2015 & 2016, it was a fun and festive night in which the Legends players donned pink, as did their dancers and fans, in celebration of Helping Women Now®.   We again had lots of fun engaging with fans and followers on social media using the hashtag: #LegendsPinkNight.  And, most importantly, we again honored the brave survivors in the arena and took a moment to reflect on how many fans—and their families—had been touched in some way by breast cancer.  

However, we did something new and very special this year.  Local high school students who had fundraised in support of NBCF’s programs joined us on center court during halftime to connect an oversized pink chain link.  Each link in the chain represented $40 raised/donated.  These generous and passionate young supporters raised over $10,000 to help women affected by breast cancer through our free early detection screenings, Patient Navigation Program, and breast health education initiatives.  

What made this moment that much more special was that these students came from a number of rival high schools throughout Frisco Independent School District.  While they compete against one another on the athletic fields and at regional competitions for a variety of academic and extracurricular activities, they united together for the cause of helping women affected by breast cancer. We are so thankful to both the Legends and these FISD fundraisers for helping us share NBCF’s mission and programs with those who need it most.  

 If your school, church, sports team, club, sorority or fraternity is interested in putting together your own campaign to make a difference for those affected by breast cancer, please email our Fundraising team at fundraising@nbcf.org.  You can borrow this Linked by Pink idea that was such a success for these FISD students or do something unique.  Check out our “Put the Fun Back in Fundraising” blog post for more ideas.

Finally, the thing we loved most about Legends Pink Night was the chance to meet inspiring supporters and survivors in our local community, and we’d like to “meet “ you too! If you’d like to share your survival story and pictures with us, use the hashtag #HopeJourney on Instagram and you just might help give hope to others.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

If the love of your life might have an increased risk of breast cancer due to genetics, would you want to know?  On the one hand, you might experience relief—or even a degree of peace—if you learn she does not.  On the other hand, knowing she does can provide a sense of control over the disease. However, the knowledge of a confirmed genetic risk can also present a series of complex worries and more decisions for the patient: Should I have a preventative mastectomy?  What about an oophorectomy? How do I tell my sisters/mother about my results? What about my daughters/granddaughters? Will they have fears they shouldn’t have to carry until they are older?

With recent advancements in testing for genetic mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, more women—along with their partners and families—are facing these complex decisions.  In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re sharing the heartfelt reflections of Douglas Feil, NBCF VP of Programs, about his wife Jody and their experiences with genetic breast cancer.  

Two cases within the family

When my wife was a senior in high school, her mother was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. After a lumpectomy and localized radiation, there was nothing to suggest her cancer was atypical or likely to reoccur.  My wife remembers not being too phased by the word cancer. Her mom quietly underwent treatment, continued to work, and never missed any of the important milestones. Homecoming, college visits and prom—that’s what my wife remembers.

Less than a year later, her grandmother, an Italian Catholic living in a working class neighborhood of Milwaukee, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Found at a later stage and given a poor prognosis (the cancer had spread throughout her small frame), my wife remembers being swept into a rapid current of the unknown.  Treatments failed, and her grandmother’s spirited personality began to wane. She died within the year.

A second occurrence

Seven years later and shortly after our engagement was announced, my wife received a call from her mother. Her breast cancer had returned. Her doctors were optimistic, but the family began to wonder if this really was just an ordinary case of cancer. Like an echo, reverberating and rippling from just out of view, there seemed to be some sort of nameless root.

Just a year before the family’s first encounter with cancer, unbeknownst to them, scientists discovered that mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes significantly increased the risk of breast and ovarian cancers and that these mutations could be passed on to future generations.

Nearly a decade later, my wife’s mother, armed with information and a green light from her insurance company, tested positive for BRCA2 gene mutations. A two-time breast cancer survivor, she would need to decide how she wanted to proceed, whether to have preventative surgeries or just continue her increased screenings and doctor visits in hopes of finding any abnormality early. She would also have to tell the rest of the family. Her sisters and daughters (one being my wife) would also need to be tested. Now, they were also vulnerable.

Asking the difficult question

I work for a breast cancer charity, so you might think I’d be the first in line advocating for my wife to be tested. I look at the facts all day. I educate others about the importance of early detection. But like thousands of people in the face of the unknown, my wife and I were scared. We now have three daughters, and cancer’s increased risk seemed to roll like an endless wave. This family history could be passed on to them, and the reality of preventative surgeries could be theirs as well.

As with so many other Americans, it was Angelina Jolie’s brave op-ed piece in The New York Times that compelled us to find out the truth. My wife made an appointment just a few weeks after the story was published, and I’ll never forget the feeling of waiting to hear the news. I was sitting at my desk when she called with the results. She did not have any known genetic mutations. The tears welled, we both cried and the relief surged like a thousand breakers.

Each year, scientists are discovering new mutations, and though I live in hope, I never feel like the concern completely subsides. I think that’s why it’s so important for all women (and men) to know your family history, to have an open dialogue with your doctors, and to advocate not only for yourself, but also for your loved ones. 

The NBCF team shares Doug’s relief that Jody, our very own Wellness Specialist, doesn’t carry the genetic mutation that plagued her mother—and likely her grandmother. His three adorable daughters will not have reasons to expect a higher than typical risk of breast cancer.  Still, we know Doug will encourage all of the women in his life to continue to be proactive about early detection and personal breast health.  Thank you Doug and Jody for sharing your family story.

(A version of this story was originally published on Media Planet.)

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

“Aloha” is a word so beautiful it has nearly as many meanings as there are Hawaiian Islands, including hello, goodbye, love, kindness, and affection.  We love this encouraging patient testimonial from breast cancer survivor Bonnie McCarthy who received screenings and patient navigation services at The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, HI—thanks to the generosity of NBCF’s supporters.  This support helped her experience the feeling of aloha at a time when she needed it most:

“I moved to Hawaii in 1973, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else because the people here have so much aloha—love. This year I needed that aloha more than ever before. I recently faced financial difficulties and found myself in a situation where I needed a mammogram and couldn’t afford it. Thanks to National Breast Cancer Foundation, I was able to get a mammogram screening. NBCF saved my life. [That] mammogram screening led to the discovery that I had breast cancer. Since my diagnosis and subsequent treatment, my friends and The Queen’s Medical Center have been my support system. My patient navigator has been a true angel. She’s not only helping me through my clinical journey, but more importantly, she’s supporting me spiritually and emotionally.

My advice to anyone facing the challenges of a breast cancer diagnosis is to keep positive and surround yourself with people who love and support you. Live with aloha and take things one step at a time. Aloha NBCF!”

This story reminds us of another meaningful Hawaiian word: ohana. Traditionally, “ohana” means “family”, but movie references to the term have added to the definition: “ohana means no one gets left behind.”  This sentiment is similar to our belief that no one should face breast cancer alone. When you support NBCF’s mission and programs, you join the “ohana” that is providing hope, help and the same aloha-love Bonnie described to women across the country.  Thank you for joining the mission of Helping Women Now® by making a donation, sharing this story on your Facebook page, or signing up for our email updates.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 


You can’t talk to breast cancer survivor Sulie Spencer without being reminded of our belief that no one should face breast cancer alone.  Woven throughout Sulie’s inspiring story is a prevailing theme of persevering through the power of community and friendship.  

Diagnosed for the first time in 1976, Sulie recently celebrated her 40th “cancer-versary”, having also survived a second breast cancer diagnosis in 2002, as well as lymphoma and mesothelioma earlier this year.  Sulie, who has been a housekeeper for the same family for 53 years, was diagnosed within months of the family’s matriarch, the late Mrs. Anna Biegelsen.  This shared experience strengthened their relationship from employer/employee to the point that Mrs. Biegelsen, who only had sons, later told Sulie, “You’ve been better than a daughter to me.”  

Through the years, Sulie cared for the Biegelsen grandchildren—who are now in their late 50s—and great-grandchildren, and the Biegelsens always made sure Sulie was taken care of too.  When Mrs. Biegelsen and Sulie had mastectomies and both needed prosthetic bras costing $45 each—a big expense in 1976— Mrs. Biegelsen purchased extras for Sulie.  The bras were made for Caucasian women, but Sulie, an African-American, says she was too grateful to be alive to be bothered by that.  

Still, Sulie’s experience made her realize that young African-American women in her community needed more resources when facing breast cancer.  At the time of her diagnosis, she didn’t know where to turn. She had heard of older women having breast cancer, but, at just 38, she felt very alone, recalling, “It was the 1970s, and people didn’t say ‘breast’ or ‘cancer’.”  She decided she would go out of her way to talk about her diagnosis so women in her community would know they could turn to her.  As a mentor in her church’s breast cancer support group, she has comforted women during the shocking moment when they are first diagnosed.

Sulie, the 11th of 15 children in her family—and the oldest surviving sibling—has seen the world change dramatically during her 78 years. Sulie’s original mastectomy was done by the same general surgeon who removed her appendix.  Today, many patients—including Sulie’s oldest daughter, Jennifer, a three-year breast cancer survivor—have access to specialists for surgery, oncology, radiation, genetic testing and even patient navigators who help them throughout their journeys.  Early detection screening services have also improved through the years.  Sulie’s youngest daughter, Julie, is pursuing a proactive approach to screenings because of her mother’s and sister’s breast cancer diagnoses.  Julie’s doctor has prescribed alternating annual breast MRIs and mammograms so that her breasts are screened every six months.  She is thankful she and her husband have been able to make these expensive screenings a priority, but knows not everyone can afford them.  This is why we are so passionate about providing early detection screenings to women in need.

Sulie is a beautiful example of our passion for Helping Women Now®, and we congratulate her on using her three cancer diagnoses as fuel for providing hope and help to others.  Do you know a breast cancer patient or survivor who needs a Sulie in her life? Women across the country, from all backgrounds, are finding support and encouragement in one another through our free online community, Beyond The Shock.  Visit the website or download the free app today.

Sulie (center) with daughters Julie (left), a passionate advocate for early detection, and Jennifer (right), a breast cancer survivor.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Editor’s Note: This post was written by NBCF Programs Coordinator, Cinthia Gonzalez.

Every year National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) partners with Convoy of Hope to provide breast cancer education and early detection services to over 10,000 women at community outreaches across the country. These events take place in both urban and rural communities, serving women and families in need. For many of these women, it’s the first time they’ve been empowered to take charge of their breast health.

This summer I had the privilege of serving at one of these events alongside 56 NBCF volunteers.  These were some of the most encouraging and dedicated women I have ever met. The event took place in Chicago on what must have been one of the rainiest days of the year. As rain began to pour and mud started to form around the NBCF tent and entryways, the unplanned weather only fueled the volunteers’ passion even more. They were committed to reaching as many women as possible.

Most of the women that attend these outreaches come on a mission to leave with a new pair of shoes for their children or a bag full of groceries; they don’t come thinking of themselves. That is where the NBCF team comes in.  We remind them just how important they are and equip them with the tools they need to be proactive about their health. Many volunteers who help us are breast cancer survivors who know the importance of early detection and are eager to share their story.

One of those volunteers is Kim Wurtz. Kim volunteered at the Worcester, Massachusetts outreach event earlier this year. She was diagnosed with breast cancer on November 2014 and underwent a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. Kim remembers her experience with breast cancer as “a journey with a lot of hills and valleys,” but says the love and support of her loved ones carried her to healing. “I volunteered with Convoy of Hope because I felt so lucky to have survived breast cancer with the support of family and friends. I just wanted to pass it forward and help someone else,” she said.  

Kim shared, “I will always see the good in situations because, after all, I am here to see them!” Like Kim, many of the NBCF volunteers that serve in the breast health tent are inspired to give back because they have a story to tell. They are breast cancer survivors, family members and friends of a patient or survivor, or supporters of early detection. Devoting an entire Saturday, in addition to the hours of training and preparation beforehand, is a way to give back.

Without these volunteers, NBCF would not be able to share hope with thousands of women in need. Our mission is to provide help and inspire hope to those affected by breast cancer, and our volunteers are the hands and feet that allow us to do this. On behalf of the entire NBCF team, we want to express our gratitude and appreciation for our volunteers. Thank you for joining us in Helping Women Now®!

To find out how you can help educate women in your community, please contact our NBCF volunteer team at volunteer@nbcf.org.

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview