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On the first Sunday in June each year, on June 6 this year, the nonprofit National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation rallies its forces and resources to promote National Cancer Survivors Day in the U.S. and worldwide, as it has done since 1988. The NCSD Foundation bills the holiday as a “celebration of life” where survivors — described as anyone who has a history of the disease, from the point of diagnosis through the remainder of life — gather with friends, families, and supporters to raise awareness, spread information, provide services, and honor other survivors, all to show that life after a cancer diagnosis can be full and fruitful.

Share Your Survival Day Story

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Brianne

Type of Cancer : Breast 

Date of Diagnosis : 11/07/2018

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

I was determined to not allow cancer rob me of my smile. I encourage you to keep smiling... come what may, keep smiling.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

In the midst of the greatest challenge of my life, I found purpose. Some of the greatest accomplishments come from the lowest parts of our lives. #ifoundpurposeinpain

Anything Else to Add?

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Charlotte

Type of Cancer : Breast (ductile) 

Date of Diagnosis : May 20, 2016

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

I had found out about my diagnosis before Memorial Day but didn't want to tell my adult children till I could tell them in person (not by phone).  My son and daughter (in-law) said "we'll help you make a plan".  When I told my daughter, she said, "You've got this Mom!  You made it through having your knee replaced!  This will be a piece of cake!".  I knew my family, and especially my wonderful husband, Dick, we with me on this journey.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

The Hawthorne Breast Cancer Support Group has been like family.  I feel I am friends with each of the wonderful, brave people.  Their words of encouragement and suggestions for getting through this fight have meant so much.

Anything Else to Add?

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Heather

Type of Cancer : Breast/Kidney

Date of Diagnosis: 3/2013, 12/2019

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

Shortly after being diagnosed with cancer, I was in the OBX. While walking on the beach in the morning and thinking about everything I came to the conclusion that I could fight this battle. Being alone on the beach at sunrise and listening to the waves is very peaceful for me. 

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

You can do this! Reach out for help when needed. Remember to always put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.

Anything Else to Add?

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Jenni

Type of Cancer : Non Hodgkins Lymphoma

Date of Diagnosis : 9/11/1992

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

I was 9 years old when I was diagnosed with cancer.  It was a terrifying time, as you can imagine.  I remember being admitted immediately to the ICU from the emergency room, to a room full of machines and scary looking equipment.  The nurse looked at my scared eyes and told me that I didn't have to worry, that they wouldn't be using any of those for me.  An hour later, I was hooked up to half a dozen of them.  This was the moment that I realized just how serious it was, and that if I was to pull through to the other side I had to embrace the situation for what it was and fight with all I had.  My mother was there with me for every infusion, every surgery and procedure, every hospitalization.  She fought for me when I was too weak to fight for myself.  We never gave up, and 22 months later, we got to hear those magical words - "you won".

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

Don't just accept the first doctor they send you to. Go to that appointment to get your tests ordered quickly but then make appts with others. That is how I found the best oncologist and plastic surgeon.

Anything Else to Add?

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Kathryn G

Type of Cancer : Right breast malignancy behind heart

Date of Diagnosis : Dec 2018

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

My cancer journey has been aided by all the professionals at the Hawthorne team I met along the way, including the radiologist, surgeon, oncologist, radiation team, nutritionist, support services, and counseling with an introduction to yoga, self-care, and mindfulness--all masterful in their fields and compassionate. My faith and personal resilience have increased as I learned I do not walk alone here or anywhere.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

It is known as a survivor's or thriver's wall for a good reason. Reach out to your supportive team, family, and friends who understand the journey. Focus on your self-care and pass your courage along to the many you see and may come after your recovery. Be honest and realistic with your condition and do what you can do to follow the medical regime. Live in the here and now. Beyond that, seek beyond to what some call the Higher Power, or in my case, the Lord for restoration of courage and calm. The path is not easy; it is a humbling experience. Reach out and learn not only about how you can cope with cancer but embrace a deeper understanding of self and others.

Anything Else to Add?

Take advantage of all that is offered for cancer patients and cancer survivors. Forgive those who do not understand. This has given me an opportunity to embrace my humanity and learn more about myself each day. Be humble yet strong.

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Kendra

Type of Cancer : Breast

Date of Diagnosis : 4/1/2019

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

On April 1 I got diagnosed with breast cancer. I would numb they tell me about the Sarah Cannon breast Center support group on the first floor. I went down there the following day on April 2 and saw Ms. Rosa, who was in the reception area doing some kind of craft she was calm and she told me she was a breast cancer survivor. In a calm and reassuring way, she told me it was going to be OK that I would make it through the fog that I was currently feeling and I could survive this, just take a deep breath and keep moving forward and ask lots of questions along my journey. The following Wednesday I went to the support group meeting with a bunch of women I had never met before saying all these things that I couldn’t hear or comprehend yet because I was still in a fog but they were calm and that’s all I could hear was their kind gentle caring voices. I didn’t hear what they were saying but I did hear the kindness and warmth in their voices which was a relief for me that others that I could touch and feel were going to be there for me.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

Have a second pair of ears with you during your appointments. Ask all your questions and write down the answer or have the other person write them down for you cause the information is overwhelming and the fog is still with you. Whatever your beliefs are find your center tie a knot and believe you will make it through this. Along the way you will find your inner strength and courage and a whole new set of women to encourage you, cry with you, and walk with you into a more fulfilling experience and life. A new sisterhood of lifelong relationships and supporters.

Anything Else to Add?

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Lea

Type of Cancer : Breast 

Date of Diagnosis : December1999

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer 20+ yeas ago, it was exactly 3 days before my retirement from a major fortune 500 company. Which was one of the darkest days of my life. After the initial shock I was referred to a team of doctors who helped me fight the battle, because I always thought that cancer was a death sentence. After the process of facing this disease and completing all my surgery, radiation, 5year therapy medication treatment, life had  a new meaning to me. I attended support groups where I became close friends with others who also helped me along my journey. I felt I could contribute more to others that were recently diagnosed.  So volunteered at the Hawthorne Resource Center where I have met many friends and learned to appreciate each day as a special gift.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

Once being diagnosed with cancer one must keep in mind that each day brings new healing. Bravery and courage and support groups become your greatest asset in your journey. Cancer may have started the fight but you are going to finish it. As difficult as it may be try to stay positive. Always remember your illness does not define you.

Anything Else to Add?

What I have learned throughout my 20-year journey is that my strength is amazing and life is such a beautiful Blessing and that is my story!

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Melodie

Type of Cancer : Breast ER/PR Positive

Date of Diagnosis : 12/08/2017; 1/4/2018

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

Prior to both of my diagnoses, God revealed to me in dreams what would be later confirmed by my surgeon that I had cancer and that it was in more than one place. But in another dream, He revealed that I would have ‘new breasts’.This was all before a bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. In the midst of my journey, I adopted the mantra, “Fight2Win”. This mantra became my guiding force against all odds(and there were quite a few odds along this journey ). As a result of my faith and belief in my had a peace in my spirit that I would win in my fight against cancer because I knew that God was my healer.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

For someone facing the beginning of their cancer journey, I encourage you to find something to hold onto, to believe in, to motivate you, to challenge you or to push you to fight to get to the other side of this mountain! I had my faith! I refused to allow anyone or anything make me doubt that I wasn’t going to get to the other side. A great part of your healing and recovery is believing that you will! See you on the other side of your mountain.

Anything Else to Add?

When darkness tries to steal your joy, Just Breathe!  Turn toward the light, then get back into the fight for your life!

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Vanessa

Type of Cancer : Breast

Date of Diagnosis : 2005

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

It was a routine check-up for me when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.I was called back because they said the image didn't come out clear. I knew it didn't sound right because they had just started the 3-D image was what we called it then. Fast forward walking in the fog being. You dare not say the whole word only the Big C and the first thing was it's going take me out. Playing this big hero but in the inside I was falling about.The crying wouldn't stop.I had a Great team of doctors who recommend that I join the support group. So many times I passed the door of the Hawthorne Center. Then one day Robin was standing outside in the hall immediately I pour my heart out crying some more. The invitation was extended to come join and be apart of the groupI am Grateful and Thankful that I saw her on that day.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

I will encourage you to get involved with a support group. Especially the one at the Hawthorne Cancer Center. We are a group of people that understand what you may be going through and can share it with you. Our Love ones are a great support system but they may not fully understand what we can't put into words. Today you can Smile and know this New Normal is the New way of Life.

Anything Else to Add?

Our Support Group at the Hawthorne do more than talk about Cancer. We do activities together. The family away from the family at home.

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Carolyn

Type of Cancer : Breast

Date of Diagnosis : 6/9/2020

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

While going through my treatments, I had a dream; upon waking; I knew that my job on earth was not finished.  This was the moment I had to stay the course and believe. My gratitude to all medical staff overseeing my treatment and recovery.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

For those starting the cancer journey, I would encourage you to educate yourself on the diagnosis, think positive, and do not give up.

Anything Else to Add?

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Cynthia

Type of Cancer : Breast

Date of Diagnosis : 10/18/1999

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

My most emotional moment was at the Relay for Life survivor's walk. My family was there and we all shared a happy cry for making it through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. My hair was even starting to grow back in. Great memories.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

Do whatever your doctors say you need to save your life. Come to The Hawthorne support group meetings ( virtual right now). The group of survivors will become your friends and you will learn lots from survivors who have been there before you.

Anything Else to Add?

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Jackie

Type of Cancer : Breast 

Date of Diagnosis : 1/23/2021

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

I found out I had breast cancer on a Saturday morning. I received an email saying my pathology report is in My-Charts. I read the report and was devastated and scared. I honestly thought my world has ended. Thank God there was a doctor in family that read my pathology report and she able to calm me down. My mom died with breast cancer 23 years ago. The thought of having breast cancer was Horrific for me.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

Cancer isn’t the end of the world. Keep the faith. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Anything Else to Add?

Join a support group that will help you through the journey.  You are not alone.

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Jenny

Type of Cancer : Breast Cancer (stage II/III)

Date of Diagnosis : October 9, 2020

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

I was 36 years old with no risk factors for breast cancer, but for some reason, I felt like the biopsy results were not going to be good, so I asked a friend to go along to the appointment with me.  At 1:00 the radiologist told me I have cancer.  At 2:00 I was meeting with a surgeon.  Before I even left the hospital someone had offered to pray with me.  By 3:30 I was eating pizza outside at my favorite restaurant with the friend who had taken off work to go to a "quick appointment" with me.  We had planned to celebrate a negative biopsy.  Instead, we were celebrating that we'd caught the cancer when we did.  As I processed those very full 2.5 hours with my friend, I realized I could do this.  Not by myself, but with my friends and family and the Big Dude Upstairs.  Yes, I could do this.  I am doing this.  I had a double mastectomy 3 days after my 37th birthday and had my last chemotherapy treatment today!  Radiation is next.  And then 5-10 years of hormone therapy.  But I am alive.  I am loved.  I am okay.  And I am thankful.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

Join a support group!  Ask questions!  Let people do things for you!

Anything Else to Add?

I took this photo of some boobies that washed up on a remote beach in September, one month before I found out I had breast cancer.

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Kay

Type of Cancer : Breast with bone metastases

Date of Diagnosis : June 2001, March 2013, August 2020

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

Being a three time cancer survivor I feel fortunate that today great advances have been made in cancer treatments.  When I think of the various treatments out there I have been able to put aside my anxiety.  In 2001 I started this journey and found myself at The Hawthorne.  Here is a place you experience great fellowship, have emotional support, and you can laugh as well as cry with those that are going through the same thing as you. During the times that I have been strong and well I have ventured away. Then when I am in need of emotional support I come back.  Over my 20 year journey Robin Yoder, our facilitator, has been here at The Hawthorne.  I doubt no other support group has had the same facilitator for this length of time.  It means a lot to me when I am in need that Robin is here.  She knows me.  She knows my history.  She knows the changes in care and treatment over the last 20 years.  I love the consistency that she brings to The Hawthorne.  I feel blessed that she and this support group are here for me.  Yes, here for me and all of this is available to anyone on this journey.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

Find a support group that makes you comfortable and feel welcomed.  Support groups have members that have been through or going through your journey.

Anything Else to Add?

It is a high anxiety time.  We live in a time where the treatments have made great advances.  It's hard to conceive when I say relax and breathe. It's not always easy but you can do this!

Anything Else to Add?

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Kimberly

Type of Cancer : Breast

Date of Diagnosis : 7/21/2016

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

Going to the Hawthorne Support Group Meeting was like coming to a new home. Unfamiliar yes until people started sharing. Then I could see that they could relate all too well to what I felt. And they could still laugh.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

Don't just accept the first doctor they send you to. Go to that appointment to get your tests ordered quickly but then make appts with others. That is how I found the best oncologist and plastic surgeon.

Anything Else to Add?

You don't know how strong you are until strong is the only choice you have

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Linda

Type of Cancer : Breast

Date of Diagnosis : 1/4/2021

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

The moment the radiologist gave me the diagnosis I asked the question: “Can I beat this?”  The nurse turned to me and said, “Definitely “.  I knew at that moment I had the faith, strength, and courage to fight the battle.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

Let IT go!  Whatever IT is that you feel obligated to do every day, let IT go. Let someone else do IT for you. Let someone else assist you on this journey. Focus on YOU.

Anything Else to Add?

Every day with breast cancer is a new day. Take it one day at a time.

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Robin

Type of Cancer : Pleomorphic Undifferentiated Soft Tissue Sarcoma

Date of Diagnosis : 2010

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

I was Diagnosed with a rare soft tissue sarcoma in the bone and surrounding soft tissues of my right femur on July 19, 2010.  Three weeks later on August 5, 2010 my right leg was amputated high above my knee.  The picture above was taken on a Monday,  4 days before that life changing and life saving surgery.  I had just returned from the Medical College of Virginia after signing all the consent forms for that surgery to The Hawthorne to share in person the news and date of my decision to my Monday General Cancer Support. My husband was with me and we were only planning be be at The Hawthorne for a very brief  time.   What we didn't know as I very reluctantly and emotionally entered The Hawthorne, the center that I created and founded, were about 100+ people, patients, co-workers, physicians, community partners all gathered waiting to embrace me (us) with food and the same love and caring and support that I had given all of them.  I was immediately swaddled with that handmade whimsical blanket.  What you can't see is the underside of that blanket and all the beautiful caring handwritten messages to me on each quilted patch by those in attendance.   I knew in that exact moment, however way things were going to turn out for me in the days, weeks and months ahead, that I (and my family) were going to be OK.  The center and community that I had spent my whole career building to help people with cancer was now helping me!  I still have that blanket and during the cool winter months I lay it across my bed for a little extra warmth.  And though it has been used and laundered over these years, those very caring and sincere messages have not faded.  I always pause and read them never forgetting the profound power of caring and grace.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

Cancer is a marathon not a sprint.  Answers don't come quickly.  The sooner you can understand and accept this fact the easier it will be over time to cope with the ambiguity of it all.  Try hard to surround yourself with people who can walk with you and help you to stay focused on the things that you can control.  Support Groups can be an invaluable resource if you find the right one!

Anything Else to Add?

Big goals are nice but I would rather set very small and meaningful ones that I can accomplish daily.  My first year was incredibly difficult at so many levels but staying focused on my small goals kept me grounded in the present moment and helped me to stay focused on the things that I could control.

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Cassandra

Type of Cancer : Breast 

Date of Diagnosis : August 2010

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

Four weeks after my mastectomy, I was able to participate in my first cancer walk with Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. At first I was a little scared because I thought it would be too soon after my surgery to accomplish such a feat, but it was personally important enough to me to participate. Although I moved a little slow and required assistance from family, I did it. I felt the strength and positive energy of fellow survivors and supporters which made me want to keep walking. If you’ve never participated in a walk before, it is truly inspiring. That mattered to me because I felt at that moment I could recover from this diagnosis, and that I would be ok. I have been participating in the Cancer walks now for 10 years and I’ve even established my own team called “Breast Savers.” We now raise over $1000 almost every year to help others in their battle for survival.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

Hearing the words, “you have cancer,” is very hard to conceive initially. Trust me when I say, even though you have to endure your own treatment to your own body, there are people who want to be by your side to encourage and support you along the way. It is a time that you have to surrender to the process and allow others in your life to help. I knew when I heard those deafening words 10 yrs ago, I would need encouragement and information from fellow survivors. Fortunately, I was able to find the Hawthorne Support Group. The strength I felt, the information I received, and the support they gave me, was invaluable. The slogan that I adopted for myself was, “life is worth the fight.”

Anything Else to Add?

I was fortunate enough to have my mother walk this journey with me. She’s shown in the picture She WAS and still IS my biggest cheerleader.

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Debra (DJ)

Type of Cancer : Breast - Stage 1

Date of Diagnosis : 8/17/2019

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

The moment that my medical team stated that they wanted to pray with my husband and I after giving me the news of mu diagnosis. This was when I knew I could do this.  YES; I cried but in that same moment I rose up within myself and felt comfort.  Receiving support from friends, neighbors, church and coworkers was very touching. So blessed with all the meals, yummy desserts and fellowship.  As for my amazing coworkers; the entire department had a prayer wall of pink hearts with words of encouragement and inspiration.  Another milestone was that the staff had PINK shirts made for everyone with my initials and on the back stating: No One Fights Alone.These shirts were a total surprise.  This year my crew surprised me again a with another encouraging slogan for the shirts: Fighting, Surviving and Thriving Together. Since 2019 we all wear our shirts every Wednesday.  Just know that you have support in all avenues of your life.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

Stay focused!!  Listen to your doctors and feel free to ask questions; even hard questions.  Family and close friends are there for you. If you want to talk, then do so; if not you can be still/quite>>it's OK. My doctors suggested that I join the Hawthorne support group headed by Robin Yoder.  I called her on September 4, 2019; we chatted about coming that night and I've been there ever since. Robin made me feel at ease and on the night I started attending this group it has been the best cure for me, EVER!!In the beginning I was definitely and deer in the headlights. Not knowing what is ahead of me but this group was and is so caring and welcoming it was like we all have been friends for years.The dinners and activities we've done are such a joy. I love our connection when we're out and about.  We are here for each other.

Anything Else to Add?

I love the uplifting spirit we give one another.

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James

Type of Cancer : Prostate

Date of Diagnosis : December 1995

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

After getting the bad diagnosis I was emotionally crushed. After doing some immediate research I reached out and joined a Prostate Cancer Support Group. . As that first meeting progressed  I was given SUPPORT, information and the flame of SURVIVAL was lit. I became that night determined to fight this dread enemy. I did a great deal of research in order to review thoroughly options that were then available back in the late 1990's. The expression "Knowledge is Power" is so true. Thus in these 25 years, I have had multiple recurrences which needed numerous different treatment modalities each with their costly side effects, but my will to live overcame these issues

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

I think he best advice is for a newly diagnosed cancer patient is somewhat a universal remedy: Join a Support Group and do your Research so that you can choose the best treatment and you will receive help & establish a network of fellow survivors or warriors,When I needed help I reached out and it was there. That is the reason I joined as a volunteer the Hawthorne when it opened. I felt the need to give back to newly diagnosed patients, family & friends as when I reached out it was given to me. Also  it  is personally rewarding to be able to help people when they need it most. Thus it is a win -win for both of us. . With fellow volunteers a life long bond of friendship is also another plus. Thus I know well the Hawthorne is a huge asset to our community and   I am proud to have been a founding volunteer. Jim Hanifer

Anything Else to Add?

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Kathy Q

Type of Cancer : Ovarian

Date of Diagnosis : 12/16/2011

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

Being a military wife and away from our home state and family, my husband and I were at a loss as to how to come to terms with and cope with my diagnosis.  Being greeted by a warm and positive group leader, and group members at The Hawthorne support group was our aha moment.  It did and still does give us comfort, hope, and appreciation for each day.  As a bonus, we have made wonderful new friends!!

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

Know that you are not alone.  Attending a support group will lift you up!!

Anything Else to Add?

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Kelly

Type of Cancer : Breast - Invasive Ductal Carcinoma

Date of Diagnosis : 12/02/2020

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

My mom is a two-time breast cancer survivor. Because of this, I think that I've always thought that I would eventually be diagnosed. That did not make the diagnosis any easier. Following an abnormal mammogram and biopsy in November, I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma with lobular features on December 2, 2020. My world immediately shifted. A low hum began in my ears and I felt scared and overwhelmed. I had so many thoughts swirling around in my head that it was hard to focus on any one thing. I was worried about my children, my husband and parents, money, and surgery/treatment. These feelings of fear and worry have receded and returned multiple times throughout this journey.

 

Many things have helped me manage the negative feelings, including practicing deep breathing, positive self-talk, grounding exercises, and other mindfulness activities, but it's the people in my life that have made all of the difference. Throughout the early days of diagnosis and treatment plans, through two surgeries (a lumpectomy and a re-excision to get clear margins), and now in the beginning days of radiation, my tribe has rallied around me. They have sent countless cards, emails, and texts to check in on me. They have called and understood when I didn't want to talk or when all I wanted to do was whine. They have sent meals, cleaners, treats, gifts, and wine. They have gone to doctor's appointments with me so that I had an extra set of ears in the room. They are an amazing group of kind, strong, fabulous humans and I'm lucky to have them in my life.

 

One of my aha moments happened on the day before my initial surgery. I was scared and overwhelmed at the thought of surgery. I was afraid of the pain and scared of what I would look like afterward. Pretty much everything about it, from the IV to the guidewire placement to the general anesthesia, made me afraid and anxious.

 

On the morning before my surgery, I woke to find the fig tree in our front yard decorated with cards. A group of my girlfriends had gathered cards from my friends, neighbors, and colleagues, and with my daughter's help, had decorated my tree. It was a tangible message that I was not alone, that I was surrounded by love and prayers and people who truly believed that I could beat this cancer. It was truly beautiful! On the hard days, the days when I want to spend my time wallowing, I think about that tree and my tribe and it lifts me up. It helps me remember that I am strong, that I can do this, and that I have a whole lot of people supporting me along the way. It helps me remember that I am loved and blessed with beautiful relationships. It reminds me to lean into my faith. It reminds me of what is important.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

You can do this!! Lean into the things that bring you joy. Figure out ways to cope with the anxious moments. I use prayer and mindfulness exercises to help me manage the fear and worry. I also love worry stones and find them very helpful at the hospital and during doctor's appointments. Take it one step at a time. You are strong enough to do this!! You are not alone!!

Anything Else to Add?

Accept help!! Say "yes" when someone offers to bring a meal or clean your kitchen. People want to help and don't know what to do, so say "yes".Don't google things on the internet. Ask your doctors instead. Join a support group. It is wonderful to know that others understand what you are going through and have experienced similar journeys.

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LaVerne

Type of Cancer : Breast 

Date of Diagnosis : March 2021

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

When I went for my yearly mammogram and got a call that I needed to come back for a 2nd reading.  I did my self breast exam before going back to get the 2nd reading and there it was a small lump.  A lump with a very different feeling to it that I had never felt before.  It was different and I knew it wasn't good.  But I was praying that the 2nd mammogram would come back showing that there was nothing to worry about.  I got me 2nd results back and I was told that there was nothing to worry about.  There is no cancer they said to come back in 6 months just to be rechecked.  I should have been happy you think.  However, the Lord placed in my Spirit that the lump in my breast was not good.  So I left that client and made a call to my primary doctor and got a referral to see Doctor Felsen.  She did a biopsy the next week.  And I was still praying that this lump would turn out not to be cancer.  When I went back to see Doctor Felsen for the biopsy results and the nurse took me back to the consultation room my heart dropped to my knees.  It took everything in me to walk into that room because I knew what the results was.  It seemed like I was waiting for hours for the doctor to come in but it was only a few minutes.  When she said you have breast cancer I did not hear anything else.  I let out a very loud piercing scream. Now no one heard that scream because it was a scream deep down inside of me.  My whole world turned upside down.  I felt so alone, so hurt, so much sorrow, so much disbelief, and had no clue about what I was entering into.  But when I got home The Lord dropped in my spirit this Scripture: Romans 8:11.  This is what I stand on and believe in with all of my heart.  And I am grateful for the young lady at the Genetic Testing unit who introduced me to Robin.  And Robin invited me to attend the online group.  And I am so glad that I attend this group because it helped me to realize that I am not alone in this. And being able to listen to others who have been where I am right now has lifted a big burden for me.  Because I am at the beginning stage of breast cancer.  and I have a lot to learn.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

The great thing about cancer in today's time is that it is not unto death.  They have made great strides in the treatments and medications for cancer. You Will Live And Not Die. 2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

Anything Else to Add?

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Marcelia

Type of Cancer : Breast 

Date of Diagnosis : 12/18/2019

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

My aha moment has been a process in the making. From my initial diagnosis my mind kicked into gear as to what’s next?? I found a support group right away and I educated myself as much as possible. My mind was going a mile a minute as I moved through the process: my surgery, my treatment and finally ringing the bell. On April 7th... this was a Yahoo and dancing in the streets moment for me. An exact week after my ringing the bell, on April 10th, I watched my house burn down before my eyes. I stood there in disbelief, it was  unbelievable. I lost EVERYTHING! I only had the clothes on my back. This was my aha moment... I was still standing, with my family safe and my health. I knew then , that I had more of my  life to give...

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

This is your journey, unique to you. So take it one day at a time. Educate yourself and lean on your support group. Keep positive thoughts, vibes and humor in your daily routine. Remember: Relax. Relate. Release

Anything Else to Add?

Be patient with yourself. Live life. Continue to always love you.

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Sandra

Type of Cancer : Breast (ERT+), Breast (New Primary, TNBC)

Date of Diagnosis : Dec 2014 ; Sept 2017

Statement 1: With regard to your cancer journey, share a moment that mattered.

There are so many moments that mattered in the big and small things during this journey that I find it very hard to put into words but this picture says it all, HOPE. In the beginning of 2015 shortly after I was diagnosed with my first breast cancer I began attending the Hawthorne’s Wednesday night breast cancer support group facilitated by Robin Yoder. In this group, I found so much support, understanding, love, and practical advice to manage the emotional and physical side effects of treatment. This group became a second family to me and we often did (and still do) social outings together. Then in 2017 when I told the group about my second diagnosis, I was enfolded in even more love, hugs, and support. It was in that profound moment that I knew there was hope and I would be okay to face whatever I had to. Join a support group. The understanding, support, and practical advice is invaluable. Also, allow others to help you. It is truly humbling to allow your family and friends to help care for you by cooking meals, being chemo buddies, or whatever supports you.

Statement 2:  Share a word or words of encouragement to someone starting this cancer journey.

Join a support group. The understanding, support, and practical advice is invaluable. Also, allow others to help you. It is truly humbling to allow your family and friends to help care for you by cooking meals, being chemo buddies, or whatever supports you.

Anything Else to Add?

Be your own advocate for your health. That is something that I had to learn through this whole journey. After my first diagnosis I learned I had a different genetic mutation, something called a variant of unknown significance. Using that knowledge, I advocated for a higher level of testing beyond the routine screening and that test found my second breast cancer. Today I am healthy and hopeful and look forward to many more meetings and outings with my Hawthorne family that continue to fill my heart with love and amazing moments.

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