October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The pink ribbon is an international symbol of breast cancer awareness. Pink ribbons, and the color pink in general, identify the wearer as expressing moral support for women with breast cancer. There are so many stylish options for wearing pink in the month of October; and yet, stylish men and women everywhere, including those who reside in Northern Virginia, understand that being there for someone who is battling breast cancer is the classiest way to be supportive. Consider the following tips provided to NVSL by the Step Sisters, a Northern Virginian organization that has been fighting breast cancer since 2005, when a small group of neighbors joined together to raise funds for research.
Supporting a friend through breast cancer.
A woman has a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. So what are the chances that someone in your circle of friends will receive this life-changing diagnosis?
Here are 8 tips to help you reach out to a friend :
1. Give her a ride. Cancer is exhausting, but so is the treatment. Finding a ride to appointments is often a major concern for breast cancer patients.
2. Feed her and her family. But ask first. She may not need or want to eat certain foods right now. In some cases, stocking her pantry with groceries may be better.
3. Listen. Let her cry and vent. She doesn’t always need you to answer. There isn’t always an answer. Just listen.
4. Normality. While her world has been turned upside down, she still wants the best for her family. Can you help with the kids? Does her caregiver need some time off?
5. The little things. Run the vacuum. Mow the lawn. Wash a load of laundry. Walk the dog. They all add up.
6. Sit with her. Breast cancer often means lots of appointments, lots of waiting. Ask if she’d like company in the waiting room.
7. Check in, and give her space. It’s a fine balance and every woman is different. Even if your friend does not want company, a card or text from time to time may give her the encouragement she needs.
8. Stick with her. Don’t assume that if she looks well that she really is. Don’t assume that when she has completed treatment that she doesn’t still need someone. See her through.
About the Step Sisters
In 2014, members Ashley Campolattaro and Angela Fuentes, took The Step Sisters in a new direction. After repeatedly seeing the impact the disease had on patients and their families, they decided to dedicate their mission to assisting patients throughout treatment. Supporting patients as they battle the disease is a different, yet vital approach to fighting breast cancer.
Throughout our history, we have seen neighbors, friends and family members diagnosed with the disease. We believe that no patient should have to stop or even delay her treatment due to her personal circumstances. Further, no patient should feel that she is fighting breast cancer alone.
Article by Aimee Taylor
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán