Hi Twenty years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer Well, this April it returned!!! I was in shock and that night I called ABCD. Years ago, it was the Y me hotline. I asked for someone to speak with and match me up with a survivor. they did the EXACT match I was looking for. Understanding, caring, empathetic, and this woman got me through. if it wasn"t for this woman at the other end of the phone counseling me, guiding me, listening to me I would not be in the space I am today! She was My life saver! I have no family that was ready and available to "listen" Friends shyed away from me and still do. I have had a double mastectomy and reconstruction. Still healing and now facing chemo therapy for a year. I know have another survivor I am speaking with. I am also BCRA1 positive. I live alone and its been painstaking going through this . This organization has helped me through this whole ordeal and continues to help me I am blessed and greatful to have called and utilized your agency You are the best!
Five years ago when I was unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer, with no family history, I thought that my life was over, both physically and mentally. I cried for days on end until a good friend told me about ABCD. Scared to make the call to them, and not knowing another sole who had the misfortune of having this diagnosis, I felt isolated and all alone. I got up the courage to call ABCD and their receptiveness and caring was a God sent!!!! They, immediately assigned me a mentor who lived nearby, and I had the pleasure of meeting a caring person that had experienced the exact same diagnosis and went through the same fears and apprehensions that I was experiencing gave me hope and enlightenment.
If it wasn't for ABCD's mentors and ongoing programs, I cannot even imagine what would have become of my mental and physical health prognosis.
I am a 5 year survivor, with the help of a great surgeon, oncologist and the members of ABCD. I wanted to give back what I had graciously received from them, so I took the time to take their mentoring course, and I am now awaiting another anxious and confused patient who, was given the same diagnosis of the BIG "C", breast cancer. I hope and pray that I can be as proactive as a mentor, as the person that guided me through my dark days.
GOD BLESS "ABCD'', AND ALL THE FABULOUS PEOPLE THAT ARE AFFILIATED WITH THIS LIFE SAVING ORGANIZATION...
I know the Executive Director in Milwaukee and she is tireless in her efforts to publicize and expand their services, become more effective in working with health care providers, and increasing ABCD's availability to help those diagnosed with breast cancer. A service much needed and appreciated.
I needed to have help with my diagnosis. I wanted a mentor so when I called they matched me to someone who had basically the same diagnosis that I had. My mentor helped me get through the decisions I needed to make. She was not pushy and was there when I needed her. It made me want to be a mentor myself. I am now a mentor and hopefully I have helped the people that I mentored.
I don't remember where I picked up the contact information, but what I do remember is that the person on the other end of the phone was empathetic and understanding. After obtaining the most pertinent infomation about my diagnosis and current concerns she told me that a closely matached mentor would be in contact with me that very same day. She was absolutely correct! My mentor had almost the exact same diagnosis at my same age. She had the same treatments that I was expected to have, and the best news was that she was leading a very active life 5 years out from treatment. It was the best medicine I could have had.
No one ever forgets the moment they first heard they have cancer. I remember sitting in a hospital gown on a hard metal table in the ultrasound room and hearing these words. I was young, never been really sick, and didn’t know anyone who had cancer, didn’t know what an oncologist or breast surgeon was. The breast cancer survivors at the other end of the toll-free phone call at ABCD, After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, are there to help, from the moment of diagnosis throughout the cancer treatment journey, then beyond into survivorhood, so no one faces breast cancer alone.
The emotionaI impact hits like a truck. Me? Shock, disbelief, scared – will I die, will this be my last Christmas? Fear of the unknown. What will the treatments be like? How sick will they make me? Guilt – what did I do to cause this? Fear - Will I make it? Does anybody make it? Practical questions - How do I tell my husband? My kids? Do I even want to tell my family yet? Will I still be able to do my job? I have to find an oncologist and surgeon right away – how? I’ll likely need months of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation? How will I pay for it? These are some of the feelings, and practical questions, the ABCD mentors help callers with every day.
I felt so scared and alone. Mostly overwhelmed. By all the new terms and the many, many treatment decisions I needed to make, and make quickly. Decisions I’d have to live with for the rest of my life – do I remove a breast? One or two? Which is worse, more surgery or more radiation? If I do take off a breast, should I get reconstruction? If yes, what kind – what is each REALLY like? Which looks better, feels better, is the shortest surgery, fastest recovery, has least long-term side effects? What will I feel like if I don’t get reconstruction? Will my husband still love me when I’m no longer ‘whole’? Will I ever feel normal again? The trained breast cancer survivors at ABCD help patients every day with answers to questions like this – from the large resource database at their fingertips, their personal wisdom from having been in those shoes, the experiences of over 350 other mentors from across the country from all walks of breast cancer type/treatment/age/etc, and, mostly, a listening ear.
I wished I had heard of ABCD when I was diagnosed 4 years ago to help me through that emotionally hard time and to help me come up with questions to ask my doctors so I’d have all the info I needed to make the right decisions. I learned about them months later, near the end of my treatment when I joined a support group and heard other women talking about how calling and talking to someone who had been in their shoes was the only way they got through their many crisis points. There were multiple times throughout the journey when I wished I had had someone to talk to – like the night before my first chemo – step by step, can someone walk me through what it’s going to be like. What’s it feel like when your hair falls out? When will it grow back? What am I going to feel like? Will I be able to …(get out of bed? go out with friends? go on our planned vacation? …)
ABCD, After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, is there, and has been for 15 years, a toll-free phone call away. They have a top reputation by many doctors, many of whom routinely ask each of their newly diagnosed patients if they’d like an ABCD mentor. ABCD provides immediate, customized one-on-one peer support to anyone affected by breast cancer.
After hearing how much the ABCD mentor support helped my friends, I subsequently became both an ABCD helpline and diagnosis-specific match mentor. Now, every day, I experience the “power of one-to-one”. With nearly every phone call, I’m blessed to walk side by side someone with breast cancer, and be rewarded with the satisfaction of knowing I’m making an immediate difference in people’s lives. Phone calls that start in tears and fright, end with sighs of relief, effusive thank you’s, and often even laughter.
ABCD, After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, daily providing trained and professionally supported peer support that is just as important to a successful breast cancer journey as top medical care. ABCD – empowering women with breast cancer through “the power of one-to-one”. ABCD –my favorite great non-profit.
ABCD picked up some of the pieces left when Y-ME closed it's doors last year. Since then, the organization has, with emphasis on fiscal viability, extended their regional reach nationwide. The goal is to match callers with mentors who have had the same or similar diagnosis who will support them through their journey. In addition, ABCD offers personalized resources for each caller who requests information thanks to a support staff of researchers who find answers and resources expressly for the individual. The helpline and mentor program are staffed with many survivors, including a large contingent of ex--Y-ME volunteers, ready to lend an ear to each caller. There is nothing like knowing you have made a difference for a caller (survivor, family member, friend), and many times those who call in say they are so happy to have spoken with someone who understands. The combination of these personalized services are unique to the breast cancer support community.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer over seven years ago, my friend suggested I contact ABCD for some support. I'm glad I did. They matched me with a mentor and sent me some literature. The staff were so caring and eased the feelings I was going through. After my five year of being a survivor I wanted to give back. So I contacted ABCD and went through the mentor training. Attended several workshops, Date With A Plate a couple of times and various other events and the DETAIL that goes into each training session, workshops, events, etc... is unbelievable! Every time I visit ABCDs office I get this fuzzy warm feeling with the staff. This organization truly cares for the participants as well as the volunteers. There hasn't been a time I didn't hear how grateful they are to work with such wonderful volunteers and couldn't do this mission without us. How cool is that?!
I was a staff member and volunteer with Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization for 32 years when Y-ME declared bankruptcy July 2012. Out of this devasting event, ABCD reached out to our peer counselors and embraced us as family. They expanded all of their services, retrained, educated, absorbed the expense of obtaining much of Y-ME valuable resources and ran with it. ABCD has a Helpline and Mentor Matching program that is outstanding. They have a caring and dedicated staff. They have spent countless hours and dollars to make ABCD a national organization that can help patients, survivors, caregivers, spouses, loved ones, friends etc. who are all touched by breast cancer. They are currently in the process of expanding their hours to be more immediately available to callers. This is an organization that has changed the face of breast cancer and the journey.
As a mentor and Helpline volunteer for ABCD, I hear the gratitude and relief in the voices of the women to whom I speak. They are so appreciative and relieved to speak to someone who "gets it" , someone who has been in their place and knows what it feels like to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
All of the volunteers are trained, caring people who want to be there for someone else who is now going through a difficult , and often lonely, experience. Women call filled with anxiety of the unknown, and after speaking to a volunteer, can take a deep breath for the first time since diagnosis.
Besides being a comforting presence, the volunteers on the helpline can also offer information, resources, or a match with a mentor who is paired as closely as possible to the caller from a large database of women or men who have had almost every possible diagnosis or treatment. The callers can then speak to someone who has had the same tests, treatments, surgeries, or is even the same religion or marital status if that is important.
In an impersonal world, where people are diagnosed with cancer and sent home with their heads spinning, new vocabulary words, difficult choices, ABCD steps in to explain, comfort, listen, and , most importantly, to show that being diagnosed with breast cancer does not mean she or he will die.