My Caregiver, My Friend, My Sister

November is National Family Caregivers Month, and we’re marking it with a special blog post by Lynn Folkman, our community engagement manager. Lynn writes about her sister, Deb, who offered tremendous love and support to Lynn throughout her experience with breast cancer.

Deb and LynnMy sister and I were standing near the finish line for the Philadelphia Marathon this past weekend. We were eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of my nephew and his fiancé so we could cheer and support them as they ran. While waiting to see them pass by, I enthusiastically cheered and clapped for all those running the marathon. I was overwhelmed at the number of all of those present showing support to those they love. With my sister by my side, I thought that she should be cheered for in the same manner as my caregiver.

Let me start by saying, I love my sister Deb. She is quite reserved and is one who does not like being in the spotlight. She has one of the biggest hearts and is one of the most giving and caring individuals I know. I have thanked her many times in a variety of ways to acknowledge her support during my breast cancer diagnosis and treatment; yet, I don’t think she fully understands the enormous positive impact that her caregiving had on my healing.

My sister and I were always close. During the time we shared as co-caregivers for my mom, who had laryngeal cancer, our bond became that much stronger.  Two months after my mother passed away, I had my annual mammogram. Two weeks after the results of my normal mammogram, I had a pain underneath my arm. Although my sister is no longer a practicing nurse, I asked her opinion. She encouraged me to go to the doctor for more information. The initial doctors visit led me first to an x-ray and then to an ultrasound, which was suspicious, and then on to a needle/core biopsy. My sister insisted on coming with me to the biopsy, and so her journey of being my caregiver began. I waited a few weeks for the biopsy results, but quite honestly after I heard the doctor say that 90 percent of these are benign, the thought of cancer left my mind. I was about to leave for a business trip for Miami when I received the call at work about my breast cancer diagnosis. Stunned and shocked, I hung up the phone and immediately called my sister. Her husband answered the phone and I managed to utter Deb’s name. He could tell that I was upset and my sister quickly picked up the phone. I was desperately trying to breathe, I gasped to find my voice to utter actual words, but ultimately found myself unable to speak. However, no words were required, the silence mixed with sobbing said it all – she understood, I had breast cancer. Continue reading

#GivingTuesday Six-Word Memoirs: Part Three

You saw parts one and two. Here’s the third and final part of our #GivingTuesday breast cancer six-word memoir campaign. Support LBBC before midnight Eastern Time (ET) tonight!

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Here’s our third and final round of breast cancer six-word memoirs for #GivingTuesday. On behalf of everyone at Living Beyond Breast Cancer, we want to thank everyone who submitted a six-word memoir about how we’ve impacted you and your breast cancer experience. Your mini-stories inspire us to continue and expand the work that we do. Continue reading

#GivingTuesdays Six-Word Memoir: Part Two

This morning, we unveiled part one of our three-part breast cancer six-word memoir campaign for  #GivingTuesday. Here is part two. Don’t forget to double your impact with our #GivingTuesday matching campaign!

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Like our six-word memoir series during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the mini-stories you submitted have touched everyone here at Living Beyond Breast Cancer. We’re overjoyed so many of you were willing to write six-words about how our organization impacted you, or how you felt after using our programs and services.  Continue reading

#GivingTuesday Six-Word Memoirs: Part One

Last week, we collected your six-word memoirs for our #GivingTuesday activities. Today, we’re unveiling them in three parts as you support us on this international day of giving.

We’ve notified you about our website and social media for the past week to let you know about our #GivingTuesday activities. As the match campaign begins, we’re proud to present our six-word memoir campaign for this day of giving. The gallery below contains the first of our three-part series.

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I Was Not Alone: How LBBC Helped Me Live Beyond Breast Cancer

Last week, Amy Lessack wrote about why she’s giving back to LBBC on #GivingTuesday. Today, we are proud to present this blog post by Debby Freedman, an LBBC volunteer who credits our organization with helpling her through her diagnosis, treatment and beyond. With one day left until the start of our #GivingTuesday activities, we hope Debby’s story will inspire you to support LBBC tomorrow and help us reach more women like her.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer about 5 years ago and I had surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

I first connected with LBBC when I was in chemo.  I was still fairly newly diagnosed and I was really scared.  I needed someone to talk to who could understand what I was going through and who wouldn’t be alarmed by my fear. I called LBBC’s Breast Cancer Helpline and spoke to a fellow survivor.  The call was a huge relief to me. The LBBC Helpline volunteer reassured me and helped me feel that I was not alone in facing the fear that comes with cancer. Continue reading

Giving Back to LBBC: Amy Lessack’s Story

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving will be the second annual #GivingTuesday, a national online initiative and day of giving back to charities, nonprofit organizations and important causes. Amy Lessack wrote this blog post on why she’s giving back to LBBC and why you should, too.

I recently learned about a national online initiative called #GivingTuesday and thought it was such a cool idea. The objective of the day is to have everyone everywhere donate or host charitable activities to benefit an organization of their choice the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.  Well, for me, the answer is easy:  Yes, of course I will “Give on Tuesday” and…my organization of choice is Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC)!

LBBC does amazing things for women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and really for anyone who is impacted by the disease, including family members, friends, caregivers or healthcare providers. What makes LBBC a unique organization to gravitate to is the personal touch given by the staff and the services they offer.  LBBC offers webinars, community meetings and face-to-face conferences, as well as the Breast Cancer Helpline, which is staffed by survivors who lovingly answer calls and help where they can by just listening, offering support and resources – instead of just relying on “Dr. Google.”   Continue reading