I’m not even sure how it is October already! Like summer, fall seems to be moving right along. With the new month, comes another opportunity to raise awareness, this time for breast cancer. As you may know, my 90-year-old grandmother is a 2x breast cancer survivor. Over the summer, I had the opportunity to participate in an awareness campaign for K-DEER and Susan G. Komen, but I recently learned about a great organization that is doing amazing work to help breast cancer patients.
My local Lululemon hosts weekly community yoga classes. I’ve been joining them for Sunday yoga ever since recovering from my thyroidectomy in 2013. The athletic brand has been largely responsible for me developing and deepening my yoga practice, and I look forward to trying new yoga studios and teachers through these community classes.
Last month, Pink Aid, a breast cancer organization, hosted a donation-based yoga class each Sunday and shared about how their work helps support breast cancer patients throughout their diagnosis and treatment. Through this organization, patients are able to apply for grant money that can go towards helping them pay for childcare, their bills, or even buying a wig. These little things can seem monumental when faced with a cancer diagnosis and the possibility of being out of work.
When my grandmother was diagnosed in her late-80’s with Paget’s disease, a rare type of breast cancer, I was her sole caregiver (and also working a full-time job). I took her to all of her doctor’s appointments (as she was no longer driving at that time), which included numerous trips to see a breast cancer surgeon. She went for multiple biopsies and procedures before having her second mastectomy. After her surgery, she went home with two drains that needed to be emptied and measured to ensure proper fluid outcomes. She had weekly follow-ups with her surgeon to see how she was healing and to prevent any infections around the drains from developing. Eventually, the fluid production stopped and the drains were able to be removed. The sutures came out and the bandages were off. Now, the scar could heal and she could begin to recover.
But what do you do if you don’t have a caregiver? Or an advocate who can ensure that everything is progressing as it should? How do you go to appointments if you are no longer able to drive? What happens to your finances if you can’t work during treatment? These are all questions I’ve asked as both a patient and a caregiver myself.
Through the yoga classes that Pink Aid hosted, I met an incredible breast cancer survivor who also taught one of the classes. I was instantly inspired by her presence—both by her strength and grace. She talked about how organizations like Pink Aid are vital for patients. They fill the void left by what health insurance doesn’t cover. For many patients, they are a lifesaver. They offer them a safety net when they need it most.
So this month, please consider supporting the incredible organizations that may be quietly helping patients in your own community. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to learn more about Pink Aid, and I look forward to joining my local Bloomingdale’s this Saturday for their annual breast cancer awareness yoga class, which benefits the The Carey Foundation and the Marisa Acocella Foundation.