Recognizing Strength In Numbers

Battling breast cancer can be more manageable when you have the support and encouragement of friends and family. Co-survivors know breast cancer affects everyone. “People should not have to face a life-threatening disease alone,” says Susan Brown, RN, a health education manager at the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. “Strength is in numbers.”

The Komen Co-Survivor Program acknowledges, educates and empowers family members, friends and health care providers of breast cancer survivors. “These are the people who are there for breast cancer survivors through diagnosis, treatment and beyond,” Brown said.

Although the Foundation meets co-survivors’ needs by providing educational information and practical tips, the program also enables co-survivors to help each other by sharing support, ideas and advice on-line. The site offers these suggestions based on co-survivors’ past experiences.

How To Be An Effective

Breast Cancer Co-Survivor:

� “When my close friend was diagnosed again after five years, I gathered all of our co-workers and we turned her small backyard into a healing garden�We gave her a reason to go out and enjoy looking at the birds and flowers.”-Sandy, co-survivor

� “Our woman’s club wanted to help bring comfort to cancer patients, so we started making Breast Cancer Comfort Pillows�So far, we’ve made about 350 pillows.” ?Jeanne, co-survivor

� “When my aunt was diagnosed, we mailed a sheet to each family member and everyone added their handprints in paint to the sheet, along with a short message and their name. One person made the sheet into a quilt.”- Kelly, co-survivor

� “I helped my friend going through surgery and chemo by cataloguing all the kind notes and gifts of food and other goodies she received. I created a whole index card system of names and addresses with gift/thoughtfulness noted on each card and then created all the thank you notes for her to sign and send.”-Jeanie, co-survivor

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� “I took over managing the bills and insurance papers so she didn’t have to see everything and worry. Not having to deal with that stress allowed her more time to relax, catch a nap, talk with the kids, or do something else to help refresh.”-Robert, co-survivor