New Support Groups Active in Norwalk, CT; Brentwood, NY; and Orlando, FL
After 42 years in New York City, SHARE Cancer Support has announced a national expansion effort. Norwalk, CT; Brentwood, Long Island, NY; and Orlando, FL are the first cities outside New York City to offer SHARE’s in-person services to women with breast or ovarian cancers. Plans are underway to launch a group in Philadelphia this spring.
“We are pleased to be able to offer our in-person support services now in locations throughout the U.S.,” says Executive Director Jacqueline Reinhard. “Our work in New York City has equipped us to be able to serve diverse populations and women across the diagnostic spectrum with compassionate and culturally sensitive support, and we look forward to bringing that expertise to as many women as possible.”
SHARE’S peer support model trains women who have experienced these diseases themselves to lead support groups for others. The Norwalk group serves women affected by metastatic breast cancer, while the groups in Brentwood and Orlando offer support to Spanish-speaking women affected by breast or ovarian cancer. Women with metastatic disease and Latinas are considered underserved groups in the breast cancer community.
“I attended a SHARE support group when I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer 17 years ago, and I really felt it saved my life,” says Kathy Hynes-Kadish, co-facilitator of the Norwalk metastatic support group. Metastatic breast cancer is progressive and incurable, and women with this disease face different challenges than women with early stage disease.
Latina women also face particular challenges related to breast and ovarian cancers. “Latina women feel especially isolated,” says Maria Teresa Romero, facilitator of the Brentwood support group. Research shows that Hispanic women encounter more barriers to cancer care than other ethnicities, including cultural stigma and a lack of reliable information in their native language.
SHARE was founded in 1976 by breast surgeon Dr. Eugene Theissen and quickly grew from a single support group to a vibrant community of women across New York City. Some research indicates that women with high levels of social support receive better medical outcomes.
“We hear time and time again how grateful women are to be able to connect with others who understand what they’re going through,” says Reinhard. “We are thankful to the communities who are welcoming SHARE’s services.”
SHARE is a 42-year-old non-profit that improves the lives of women affected by breast and ovarian cancers through experienced peer support, practical education, and innovative advocacy, always for free. It meets women wherever they are, especially in medically underserved communities, with the insight of others who have been there too, creating a nationwide network where women are empowered and feel less alone. Its free services include support groups, educational tools, expert-led webinars and presentations, a national helpline, online communities, and survivor-patient navigation.