EAST LANSING, Mich. — Sandy Kingsley is a breast cancer survivor and says the diagnosis was overwhelming when she first found out.
“I was first diagnosed in 2016 with breast cancer. And I remember when they told me it was so devastating. I had no idea that there was support out there, I had no idea that there were organizations that could help, and I felt alone.”
Eventually, Sandy found out about the local nonprofit It’s A Breast Thing.
Grants from It’s a Breast Thing help lessen the financial burden already placed on patients undergoing breast cancer treatment. The funds can assist with rent, the purchase of food, gas for transportation to and from appointments, medical copays, really anything that will help the patient.
Christine Terpening is also a breast cancer survivor and says it was very distressing when she found out she had cancer.
“When you get hit with cancer of any kind, it's a blow. My mother had cancer, and I remember that feeling when I heard it. The first thing I thought of when I found out was my kids. They were going to feel that bad feeling. It's an awful thing to hear, and I didn't want to do that to my kids.”
It’s A Breast Thing volunteers offer emotional support as well as financial. Christine has good insurance but says that doesn’t always matter.
“I have very big bills that still come in the mail. They are from getting a second opinion. That costs a fortune. Also, co-pays cost a fortune.”
Suzi Wyman is one of the founders of It’s A Breast Thing.
“These women are struggling! You can be sitting fine financially, get this diagnosis, perhaps lose a job or maybe have a change in your marriage. The cost of treatment and all of the extras that need to be paid for out of pocket can be extremely expensive. There are wigs, undergarments, all types of things that women need to purchase. They all cost.”
Like many of the women who have been helped by It's A Breast Thing, Sandy Kingsley ended up volunteering for the nonprofit, giving back the support she received.
“Unfortunately, in 2018, I was diagnosed again with breast cancer, only it wasn't metastatic. It’s in my liver, lungs, and brain. I realized that I got a little bit of extra time and need some purpose in my life. I decided I wanted to give back to It's A Breast Thing. This organization has helped me so much."
Statistics tell us that one in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer within her lifetime. It’s A Breast Thing volunteers say it’s important to be proactive!
Irene Pena is adamant women get regular mammograms.
“Get that mammogram! If they say you're not old enough, then you tell them you want one anyway.”
It’s A Breast Thing is planning a big fundraiser this coming October. The event is an evening of fun. You can decorate bras, bid on auction items, and know that you are helping women who are fighting breast cancer.
The pandemic made outreach more challenging in 2020, but it didn't stop the nonprofit’s organizers from achieving their gift-giving goals, successfully awarding more than $100,000 to patients throughout mid-Michigan. Because of that, they are calling 2021 a year of celebration.
If you would like more information on It’s A Breast Thing, visit their website.
We want to say thank you to It’s a Breast Thing volunteers who are this week’s Good Neighbors.
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