BY BROOKE REESE
Pink is the signature color for the month of October to support breast cancer awareness, which affects one in eight women every year, according to breastcancer.org.
What most women on the Eastern Shore aren’t aware of is many local service organizations can provide to those battling the disease.
Women Supporting Women is a local non-profit whose purpose is “to provide awareness, education and support for anyone that’s affected by breast cancer,” Executive Director of WSW Sue Revelle said.
All events and supportive elements by WSW are free to patients and survivors to help them through their process, just as prosthesis bras, wigs, rental reclining chairs and a lending library as a few featured part of the WSW amenities.
Community Relations Director Emily Rantz said the organization helps hundreds of breast cancer survivors, but it doesn’t stop there.
“This organization alone has touched thousands of not just women, but families and people and loved ones,” Rantz said.
Every surgeon in the city has tote bags from WSW to give newly diagnosed patients information about the process ahead of them.
When patients experience surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and emotional stress from cancer, their bodies are greatly affected by the disease.
Leigh Ann Eagle, the Executive Director of the Living Well Center of Excellence, runs an after breast cancer program to assist with the residual care for survivors.
The program is funded by grants from the Susan G. Komen foundation and various other local organizations to serve over 400 survivors on the shore.
“We hope that they get a renewed quality of life,” Eagle said. “They get the survivorship, they get the skills to go on and do those lifestyle changes.”
The program can assist survivors through ten chiropractic care treatments from Dr. Marisa Carey, a community garden to promote healthy eating by growing an organic vegetable plot and a six month free wellness gym complete with a personal trainer, yoga and tai-chi sessions are among a few of the options.
“They can write their own menu,” Eagle said. “What one cancer survivor may need the other one may not.”
Breast cancer detection and treatment has changed dramatically in the last decade, so although more women are being diagnosed, more women are also living.
Eagle encourages women who go through her after breast cancer program that they can come out of cancer stronger than they were before. “There is a better normal,” Eagle said.