This month, we are pleased to introduce you to one of SHARE’s amazing volunteers: Nancy Touhill, the peer facilitator of the breast cancer series “Let’s Talk About It” (LTAI). This popular series brings patients and experts together for educational presentations, sharing and discussion. Nancy, who was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer in 2015, guides these sessions with knowledge and empathy.
The program gives participants a chance to ask questions, share experiences, and also learn about topics ranging from new treatment advances and tips for undergoing chemotherapy, to wellness and fear of recurrence. We recently chatted with her on how she came to SHARE, and what she hopes to offer anyone facing a breast cancer diagnosis.
When Nancy was first diagnosed, she reached out to a family member for help and support - SHARE’s very own VP of Patient Support and Education, Christine Benjamin. Once her treatment was over, Christine asked Nancy if she would consider volunteering at SHARE, and she quickly trained to become a peer facilitator of the LTAI series.
On her role as a facilitator, Nancy says “I get a lot out of it. When I was first diagnosed in 2015, I would talk to anyone who might offer hope, support or information. I’m not a huge social butterfly, but at that point I took advantage of talking to anyone I could find. As a volunteer at SHARE, I want to provide that level of support to other people, either as a facilitator, or one-on-one.” She adds “Volunteering at SHARE gives me a purpose, a way to share my experience and help those on a similar path.”
For anyone considering joining a session of LTAI, Nancy says “My advice is to try; join one time and see what you think. We welcome those who want to speak and be on camera, but you can also just join in and listen to the group with your camera off. “
Asked to describe the group, Nancy emphasizes its diversity, “There are women in their 30’s and women in their 70’s. Some chat a lot and some are more quiet. The group can be whatever anybody needs it to be.”
No matter who you are, the LTAI series can help. As Nancy observes “It’s important for those going through a breast cancer diagnosis to find others who have been there. It’s a whole new world to be a part of, with a new language, and new challenges. If you can find people who speak that language you can talk about it with them. It’s a safe space for all of those hard and complicated feelings.”
Thank you Nancy, for providing a space at SHARE for women to come together, learn, and share their feelings!
For more information on upcoming sessions of LTAI, click here.