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Share Self-Help for Women with Breast or Ovarian Cancer, Inc.
November 13, 2012

November 13, 2012
My wife is a breast cancer survivor. Today, she works with several breast cancer support and advocacy organizations including SHARE. At SHARE she staffs a hotline answering questions and providing emotional support for women seeking help. When my wife was originally diagnosed there was little information available to her other than a few books and a couple of minutes of consultation with her oncologist. The impact on her was quite severe. Days and nights were filled with angst speculating about what the next day would bring. Every new symptom was viewed as a harbinger of a metastatic advance. As the years have passed the angst has receded but still lies there waiting to reassert its hold on her. Watching her I have come to the realization that her salvation has been her contact with others like herself. When my wife is scheduled to staff the hotline she sometimes takes and makes the calls from home. I have listened to her for hours providing support to distraught women on the phone. Their questions seemed to include everything from what should I do next, or what did the doctor mean, or where can I go for help since the nearest hospital is a 100 miles away, or how can I pay for treatment, to the more personal “how do I tell my husband and family”. Every question is answered and with every answer I see my wife’s own fears begin to abate. That is the wonder of SHARE. Its volunteers help themselves as they answer others calls for help.
While at SHARE my wife also became an advocate for advancing the science of treating breast cancer. She graduated from Project Lead, a course sponsored by the National Breast Cancer Coalition, whose graduates follow breast cancer medical advances, speak to women’s organizations and medical students, petition Congress and participate in research panels. She uses these experiences to help women better understand the lifetime war they have involuntarily been drafted into. SHARE has been the driving force in fueling her passion to help other survivors. SHARE has saved her emotional well being just as it has helped countless others.
Leon Heller

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