Last weekend I was in Ossining, New York speaking to a group of cancer survivors on behalf of the Support Connection at their annual Survivor Luncheon at the Travelers Rest Restaurant.
To look out into the audience and see husbands, parents, friends, and co-workers sitting beside each survivor made me realize once again that it takes more than a village to get cancer survivors to the place where they are surviving and thriving!
The Support Connection is just such a place. Their mission statement says it all: “To provide emotional, social, and educational support services to women, their families and friends affected by breast and ovarian cancer. The support provided enables women to help each other and empowers them to become their own health care advocates.”
I spoke with one woman who was 23 years old and was just diagnosed with breast cancer, another was a mother of five who just finished treatment, and another woman sitting next to me had not started treatment yet , but through her smile I saw fear—the same fear I had before starting treatment 12 years ago. Some women wore pink ribbons for breast cancer and others wore teal for ovarian cancer, but we all wore the ribbon of courage that bears no specific color. But if I could give it a color, it would be ruby red like the slippers that Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz” wore: vibrant and bold!
It’s been 12 years since I first heard the words, “you have cancer,” but they are emboldened in my brain. When Nancy Heller, the founder of Support Connection, asked the survivors to stand by years of five, ten, fifteen, and “yes” 20 years, I realized they were not only surviving cancer they were thriving—all in their own way!
Photo courtesy of Ken Valenti, Hudson Valley News. Click here to read entire article.
breast cancer, ovarian cancer, caregivers, cancer survivors, Ossining, New York, Travelers Rest Restaurant Support Connection of New York