“When you are told you have breast cancer, it’s like a death sentence,” says Tana Brende, who was told this very news 10 years ago.
Adds Sandy Quinn, a nine-year survivor, “Of course, you are in shock and nothing the doctor says next is connecting, and about all you remember when you leave the office is the time of your next appointment.”
These were compelling enough reasons for Sandy and Tana to join the Breast Cancer Task Force which meets regularly at Sacred Heart Cancer and Research Center.
Four years ago, Mary Butler, Sacred Heart vice president, brought together several women to discuss the needs of those newly-diagnosed with the disease. That group evolved into the Breast Cancer Task Force. Its members are quick to point out that many women have no one to provide advice and emotional support when they first face the diagnosis of cancer.
To meet this need, the Task Force produced a 10-minute video and printed materials for doctors’ offices throughout the region - ready to be handed to a woman at the very moment she is given her diagnosis. “We asked breast cancer survivors when they needed help the most and they all agreed, it was the moment they heard the diagnosis,” says Tana.
The professionally-produced video, “Journey,” features breast cancer survivors who talk about how they coped with, and survived, the disease. The printed materials include listings of local and national support groups and resources. Funding for the project was made possible in 1995 by Women Helping Women, a Spokane charitable organization.
“Journey” contains several badly-needed “rays of hope,” says member Mary Duff, RN, director of Oncology at Holy Family Hospital, herself a bone cancer survivor. “We want them to know there are survivors out there. And that their chances of survival are better than ever.”
For information, contact Breast Cancer Task Force at 455-5490.