Breast health support group started
The Rainy River District Breast Health Network launched a support network during its biennial “Luncheon of Hope” held Saturday at La Place Rendez-Vous here.
“We’re very excited to be putting together a support network for women who are in the early stages of facing a diagnosis of breast cancer,” said Teresa Hazel, who chairs the local Breast Health Network.
“We’re excited that two survivors came forward at the luncheon and handed in an application,” she enthused.
Hazel said the idea is to compile a list of names of women who would be willing to share their experience and coping strategies with others.
She added some of the topics may include what to expect when going for procedures and treatments, helpful advice or guidance to make life easier while undergoing treatment, or simply to be available if they need someone to talk to or sit with.
“I think it’s something very needed,” Hazel stressed, adding there had been talk previously of the local Breast Health Network starting a support group.
When a local woman diagnosed with breast cancer indicated she was seeking that support, they decided to move ahead with developing it.
“It brought that need back to our table,” Hazel explained. “And we started to make it a priority.”
She added they even may expand the support network to included men—to give advice to husbands about how to cope and support their wife after a breast cancer diagnosis.
“I think it will be a great help for women and their families who are going through a difficult time,” she reasoned.
Anyone interested in volunteering their time and experiences are asked to contact Hazel (276-5491) or Janet Lambert (274-2713).
Hazel added the list will not be made public and only will be given to local service providers.
In addition, volunteers are able to withdraw their name at anytime.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s “Luncheon of Hope,” which has been held here every two years since 1995, drew more than 200 women.
While it is more of an awareness event, Hazel indicated the money raised from the raffles goes back to the local Breast Health Network to help with awareness campaigns and promotional materials to encourage women of all ages to practice total breast health.
“We’re very grateful that people supported our raffles and our ‘Quilt for Cure,’ as well as all the donors who donated the prizes and giveaways,” she remarked.
“I was very pleased with how the luncheon went.”
She noted this year’s event paid tribute to one of the local Breast Health Network’s former members, Patti Johnson, who passed away from the disease in July, 2012.
“We didn’t have a luncheon last year, so this event was dedicated to her,” Hazel said.
“We miss her very much.”
Hazel added the food was fantastic and the guest speaker, Dr. Dimitrios Vergidis, chief of oncology for Regional Cancer Care in Thunder Bay, was very informative with his talk, “A Prescription for Health.”
“It was very motivational,” she enthused, noting Dr. Vergidis gave tips about staying healthy while you age, such as not smoking or drinking alcohol, while eating as natural as possible and exercising.
“I think everyone there was very interested in what he had to say about his thoughts and research about aging and disease and ways to live healthy,” Hazel said.
“He is caring, humorous, and had a lot of knowledge and wisdom to share.”
Also at the luncheon, Margitta McLeod, who staged a “Zumba Glow Party” on Friday night with Arlene Georgeson, presented Mistress of Ceremonies June Keddie with the $778.40 that they raised.
As well, Bernie Rittau, the new director of diagnostic imaging at Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc., offered a few words about the new digital mammography unit here, which many in the room indicated they have used since it became operational last October.
“Breast cancer can be beaten,” Hazel stressed. “The goal of the network has always been very clear—to promote total breast health to women of all ages across the Rainy River District.
“It is our belief that it is never too early to start screening,” she added. “Breast cancer does not discriminate. . . .
“We encourage everyone to be active in their heath by participating in regular screening.”
Hazel said there are many programs in the area that can help with the early detection of breast cancer.
“That, in turn, provides more opportunity for more treatment options and a better chance of survival,” she explained.