Marilyn: Supporting Other Breast Cancer Survivors

I'm a 19-year breast cancer survivor, and I co-facilitate two SHARE support groups in Queens. These groups help women get the support and information they need to deal with breast cancer. The members are really good about helping each other out -- we all work together, and many members become buddies to other members. When a new person comes, I try to get a feel for what she might need, and that's how I select who's going to be her buddy.

One of the groups I co-facilitate offers educational programs as well as support because we realized that we needed information about treatments, diagnostic tools, insurance, and other health care issues. We all got together and voted on the topics we wanted to learn about, and SHARE sent speakers to present these topics.

The other group I co-facilitate is for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. We focus on proving support and discussing issues that women confront in early treatment, such as how to deal with your time and how to manage the changes in your body.

I call the members between meetings to see what's going on with them. This sort of gives me a guide for what to have as our topic for the next meeting. We also go to events together, like to advocacy conferences.

The group members are very close, and some women stay involved for a long time. Others leave after their treatments are over, but they come back sometimes, especially when they're scheduled for their annual mammograms. Either way, we're here to support them.

Author

Marilyn


  • Elizabeth Ortiz

    http://www.sharecancersupport.org/services/support_groups/#ovarian

    Hi Marilyn!

    You have been very strong and God bless you for the beautiful work that you do to help others during their time of need. In 2002, you called me because I was newly diagnosed with breast cancer. We developed a rapport, and then we met in person at the cancer walk (Making Strides). Today, I am a cancer volunteer because I have been strongly inspired by you. Thank you for that gift because I feel that you have been my lighthouse (guiding me during the time that I needed support the most). I will pass on this gift to lend a helping hand to others.

    It was so nice seeing you at the Reach to Recovery meeting tonight at Kew Gardens. I stored your E-mail in a yellow book that you gave me (the one with Soraya's CD). I would like us to get together when you are available and catch up.

    So many things to
    discuss

  • Ilene Winkler, Breast Cancer Program Director

    Dear sisters,
    We have received some very personal comments on Marilyn's blog that we aren't posting on the website because you included your phone numbers or email addresses, and we can't edit it out. If you want to post a comment, please leave out this information. If you want to contact us at SHARE, please fill out a request for us to call you [http://www.sharecancersupport.org/services/hotlines/#request] or call our toll-free number, 866-891-2392. Thanks and stay in touch.

National Helpline:
844-ASK-SHARE