Since October 2016 my weekly breast cancer group at weSPARK Cancer Support Center has provided support to more than 60 women. Each week we meet for 90 minutes to share our experience, strength and hope. Miracles happen in our group. Miracles. We have not cured anyone and we do not wear pink ribbons but we have done a great deal of healing of our bodies, minds and spirits.
Together we have explored everything related to a breast cancer diagnosis including: treatment, post-treatment, surgery, reconstruction, failed reconstruction, life threatening infections, diet, fear, spirituality, mental health, divorce, dating, sobriety, grief, recovery, homelessness, body image, anger, depression, poverty, sexual assault, trauma, domestic violence, motherhood self-care and self-esteem.
60 strangers who come together to speak their truth and give and receive support.
This all started because Carlin Dohr Bell walked into my office one day and said “I have been looking at our numbers and I see that 40% of the women who come here are diagnosed with breast cancer. I think we can do something to help them.” 11 months and 60 women later she and I lead one of the strongest and most well attended groups at our center. That is what happens when you look at facts and match them with your ability to be of service and create sustainable change. Instead of saying “That’s not real because it does not impact me” Carlin said “This is the reality for all these women. I do not want to ignore this. How can we be of service to them?”
I have deep gratitude to Carlin for bringing me an idea that had been shot down by others so many times before. Some of the miracle workers in your life will be the people sitting beside you every single day. Imagine what you could do in your own community if you listened to the ideas of the person beside you and said "yes" instead of "no."
Today I met with Katharine of Keep A Breast Foundation. I initially contacted them as I was interested in finding a sponsor for one of the women in my breast cancer support group so that she could attend the Keep A Breast Survivor's Retreat at Playa Viva Eco Resort in October. We planted seeds in this meeting and I am feeling inspired by all the possibilities. That's what happens when likeminded people who are passionate about what they do come together. I am so grateful for an ever expanding list of community partners working with us to create sustainable and impactful change.