Healing With Yoga: One Step at a Time

headshot.deb.copitWe’re marking the 15th anniversary of Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Reach & Raise on May 15 this year atop the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We asked one of our biggest supporters Debra Copit, MD, director of breast imaging for Einstein Healthcare Network, about her experience with one of the largest yoga events in the area.

How did you get involved with Living Beyond Breast Cancer?
I got involved with Living Beyond Breast Cancer over 20 years ago when I came back from completing my residency in Dallas. I wanted to get involved in a local organization and LBBC is so dedicated to what happens after diagnosis. They do something unique and they do it really well. As a radiologist, I often see the before and after but LBBC helps a lot of women throughout their diagnosis.

Your relationship with LBBC got even more personal for you in 2011. Can you share?
I was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago. I caught it early. I went through radiation and took Tamoxifen for five years. LBBC does so much for others in my situation – especially for those who don’t have the support around them like I did.

Will you be participating in our Reach & Raise yoga event in Philadelphia on May 15?
Yes! I have participated at least 10 times. I’m excited to mark the event’s 15th anniversary this year.

What does the event mean to you?
Over the years the event has taken on a different meaning. Prior to my diagnosis it was a day of connecting to other women and a celebration to honor people who were diagnosed, fighting the disease and people who are no longer with us.

It is also a morning of beauty and calmness. Just being there with all those people in the city where I grew up is magical.

After my diagnosis the event became even more of a celebration. It’s a milestone and a very positive, uplifting morning.

You’re this year’s guest speaker at Reach & Raise. What do you want to impart on the thousands of participants?
I think the most important thing I want people to realize is to relax, remember why we’re all there and take in the humanity that surrounds the disease at such an important event; enjoy the moment and celebration.Yoga on the Steps - 2015 (Joe Longo High Res) (221)

Do you practice yoga on a regular basis?
Yes. It’s definitely a source of calmness in my life. I really do find that I release a lot of stress and tension both when I’m doing yoga and afterward. While yoga is good for your body I do it mostly for the mental benefits.

Your employer, Einstein Healthcare Network, is this year’s presenting sponsor of Reach & Raise. How does that make you feel?
I feel extremely proud and grateful that they understand the importance of this event and the work that LBBC does. I’ve been at Einstein for almost 24 years. To have the two organizations that are such a big part of my life partner together is wonderful.

What would you say to those thinking of participating in Reach & Raise for the first time?
Don’t miss it! You’ll be more than pleasantly surprised to see how it makes you feel and it will be a great memory for years to come. It’s an all-levels class so don’t be intimidated if you’ve never done yoga.

Plus, the money raised at this event goes directly to LBBC’s programs and services that help so many people affected by breast cancer. It’s absolutely yoga for a reason!

How have you benefited personally from LBBC’s programs and services?
I really knew that if I had a question or needed support that I could go to LBBC. The staff is so caring and supportive.

As a radiologist I am often the person who has to tell someone they have breast cancer. In that regard LBBC has been a tremendous resource for me. I am able to recommend an organization that I trust and know can help those affected by breast cancer. That means a lot to me.

You can hear Deb speak (and probably see her Downward Dog) at Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Reach & Raise on Sunday, May 15 on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. To register or to make a donation, visit philly.reachandraise.org.

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