Breast cancer survivors needed to help ‘Reach to Recovery’

Published 5:08 pm Wednesday, September 23, 2009

With October slated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the local American Cancer Society board is actively seeking breast cancer survivors who are willing to help newly diagnosed breast cancer patients on their journey through treatment.

“We’ve had wonderful volunteers work with breast cancer patients before, now we need some new people who are willing to step up and help us out,” said ACS community representative Jessica Garrard.

“Reach to Recovery” is a 40-year-plus program offered by the ACS to help patients cope with their breast cancer experience. Actual breast cancer survivors are trained as volunteers to work with these patients both face-to-face and over the phone, allowing them to express feelings and concerns and ask questions of someone “who’s been there.”

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“Many times, when people first find out they have breast cancer, they can feel really overwhelmed and alone,” Garrard said.

“They also have to learn about and try to understand the medical treatments out there and choose the best one.”

A new “Reach to Recovery” training class is set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 20 in Montgomery.

Potential volunteers must be one year post-op to qualify and must also be certified by a physician as being mentally and emotionally ready to serve in such a capacity, Garrard said. Ongoing continuing education classes are also offered to RtR volunteers.

Anyone who is interested in becoming a Reach to Recovery volunteer or wishes to learn more about programs offered through the ACS, is encouraged to contact Jessica Garrard at 334-674-0541 or via email at Jessica.Garrard@CANCER.ORG.

Garrard also wants to remind everyone October 16 is designated as National Mammography Day and everyone is encouraged to wear pink in honor of the day promoting a test that can save many lives.