My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for The Next Step Fund, Inc., Cambridge, MA, USA
My name is Teri, and I am the 10th woman on my mother's side of the family to develop breast cancer. I was 31 years-old at the time of my diagnosis, which is the same age my mother was when she died of the disease. We are a BRCA1 family, and this seems to be my heritage.
Before the diagnosis, I was working full-time as a teacher and caring for my daughter who was 9 months-old at diagnosis and my husband. We had recently purchased a new home and were making the place our own when we got the news.
It became nearly impossible trying to raise a daughter, nurture a marriage, undergo drastic treatment and surgery, and work full time.
I eventually went on disability, so that I could finish chemotherapy, and I struggled to keep up with the rest of my responsibilities.
While there was much joy during that time of my life, there was also much hardship. In particular, marriage was difficult. My husband fell apart, and in some ways, I felt like a single mother raising our daughter.
It's funny: no one tells you how hard a cancer diagnosis will be on your marriage. I mean, when I went to support groups for breast cancer, the women were post-menopausal, if they had children, the children were grown and out of the house, and if they were married, the husband was usually retired and able to concentrate on helping the wife sustain treatment.
Not me. I was an anomoly.
That's when I heard of Next Step. They were planning a couples retreat through Planet Cancer. It was a retreat where a person could rebuild a relationship in the face of cancer.
It's funny because of course the marriage needs help. Both partners are given this diagnosis; it wasn't just me.
During that weekend, we met other couples who were struggling like us. We engaged in various activities, and we normalized our situation. We weren't alone. We weren't the only ones dealing with such issues.
I am really glad that I went to the retreat with my husband. It was a turning point for us, and now we are building a wonderful relationship--one that is better than before cancer.
Thanks for your powerful intervention. I hope you can continue to offer your services to others in need.