If you’re familiar with LBBC, you know we often speak of “a small group of women” who helped establish the organization with the help of their radiation oncologist, Marisa Weiss, MD. Margaux Jacks’s mother, Nancy Garbowski, was one of that small group. This is the second of a two-part blog. We posted part one earlier this week.
In the early ‘90s, my Mom, Nancy, was receiving treatment at Paoli Memorial Hospital under the care of Marisa Weiss, MD, who recognized there was a lack of support for her patients. So Dr. Weiss organized a conference, which my Mom participated in. Their goal of the conference was to provide a safe space where women could get accurate and easy-to-understand breast cancer information from medical experts, while finding and connecting with each other. She wanted people to be able to talk about the disease, and to not feel as though it was some ugly thing that needed to be kept secret. This disease involves people’s lives — loved ones, parents, siblings, etc. And there is a ripple effect that cancer has, as all those involved with that person’s life have to process and deal with the weight of such a diagnosis.
The connections my Mom made with other cancer survivors fueled her drive to survive. She learned about new treatments, testing, and techniques for battling the disease. Mind you, this was before the Internet, when you could goggle about treatment options and medications. She had a sense of power, as she took control of her illness. She was making the decisions, not cancer.
And there was support. Support from others who knew exactly how she felt. Who knew the fear of facing the idea that cancer may end their lives. She had friends she could call — this was before cell phones — and ask about wigs and prosthetics. They would help each other delivering meals when someone was home from surgery. They made pretty head wraps so they could still feel beautiful. It became a family.
“One of the things my mom was most proud of was being part of the group that organized LBBC 25 years ago.”
One of the things my Mom was most proud of was being part of the group that organized LBBC 25 years ago. My Mom would be so proud to see how much LBBC has evolved, how it is impacting so many lives and making them better. She always spoke of maintaining quality of life. And that is something LBBC helps provide. Every time I see an update, or a new event, I know my Mom would be smiling. She would be thrilled to see how far this organization has come. This organization lives on.
And for me, her daughter, it is a way I can remember her strength, perseverance, and passion for life. What a gift, as I reflect on her life during this year, the 20th since her passing. It is something that she helped laid the groundwork for that is continuing to flourish today. I remain a part of this organization because I believe in the mission. And I know all too well, that no one should ever be alone when dealing with something as immense as facing cancer.
Thank you, Living Beyond Breast Cancer!
As this blog was being coordinated, little did we know that its scheduling would place part two smack dab on what would have been Nancy’s birthday. It’s fitting though, and a wonderful way to honor her memory. If you’re reading this and knew Nancy, or any of the original group of ladies who helped create what would become LBBC, Margaux would love to hear from you. Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to forward it along.
If you have a special story to share about your history with LBBC that you feel might be appropriate for our 25th Anniversary Blog Series, contact Kevin Gianotto at email@example.com.