On January 16, 2003 I began a journey I never thought I would have to take. Diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, a particularly aggressive form of the disease, I was about to embark on what would turn out to be two and a half years of chemotherapy treatments, surgeries –both to remove my breasts and to reconstruct them, and radiation. The physical devastation of breast cancer is matched only by its emotional and psychological toll.
Few newly diagnosed breast cancer patients really appreciate that impact. I know I didn’t. I had great doctors, a wonderful, loving and supportive husband, family that was fighting the fight with me, a job that enabled me to work even as I spent a week in bed after every chemo treatment. What more could I need?
What I needed was to be with others, under the supportive guidance of a trained therapist facilitator, who were going through what I was. I had found that it was hard to tell people I had cancer because it is hard to know you are going to ruin someone’s day. I tried to be strong so my friends and family would not worry. I tried to breakdown only in the privacy of my bedroom. Women are the caregivers and so we put others’ needs ahead of ourselves–even when we are the ones in need. In fact, data suggest that no matter what personal support we have have, cancer patients in professional psycho-social support groups have a longer survival rate. I had a type of breast cancer that had a 30% survival rate for three years — I needed all the help I could get!
In the Cancer Support Community-Redondo Beach’s Tuesday Night Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer Support Group I found that help. I found women who had already gone through what I did and gave me hope. I found women who could crack an irreverent joke that gave me the gift of laughter. I found women who gave me strength when I was weak, courage when I was fearful, and partnership when I felt alone.
I will never know for sure if I would still be here almost 11 years later if I had not had the CSC-RB support group — but in my heart I have no doubt. Those women, that place, that staff helped save my life. And now, we have to help those who are still hearing those terrible words, “You have cancer.” Won’t you help?
This organization does amazing work on a shoestring budget. Please consider what you can do with just a few dollars:
- $5,000 will provide Cancer Support Source for 1 year to screen patients for social and emotional concerns and it provides referral and follow-up care personalized for each individual
- $2,500 will provide 1 year of cancer specific networking groups facilitated by licensed therapists
- $1,000 will provide a weekly support group for a month
- $500 will provide Kid’s Community for 10 children for 2 sessions
- $250 will provide 4 Welcome to Wellness meetings
- $100 will provide 1 individual counseling session for a cancer patient, caregiver or child
- $50 will provide one stress reduction workshop for 20 participants
Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Until there is a cure, the Cancer Support Community must endure!
Director, Communication Management Master’s Program
Annenberg School of Communication
Please donate if you have been touched by Rebecca’s story. Thank you for your support!