For the girls

For the girls

The Official Blog of Here for the girls

, November 08, 2019 | More Post by

As an organization that serves young women affected by breast cancer, we make sure to keep up with the latest news so we know what our women face when it comes to treatment and beyond. In this blog series, we will share the month’s news that we feel is most interesting and relevant.

October 2: Deaths from breast cancer are still declining in the United States, even as more women are being diagnosed with the disease, a new report shows. Read more about these new statistics HERE in HealthDay.

October 11: Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida say a vaccine they have developed could be available within eight years that may not only stop the recurrence of breast and ovarian cancers, but prevent them from developing in the first place. Immunologists at Mayo already have two cancer vaccines against Triple Negative Breast Cancer and HER2 Positive Breast Cancer, respectively. They’re also working on a third against ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, a noninvasive breast cancer. Read the full story in Forbes HERE.

October 22: Men with breast cancer are more likely to die than their female counterparts, across all stages of disease, with the disparity persisting even when clinical characteristics, such as cancer types, treatment and access to care are considered, according to a new study. Read the story in Science Daily HERE.

October 22: Women diagnosed with breast cancer between two routine screenings have an increased risk for other types of cancer, according to a new study. Breast cancer detected between two routine screenings is called interval cancer, and it tends to be more advanced, more aggressive and to have a worse prognosis than cancers found during screenings. Read more in a HealthDay article HERE.

October 23: The US Food and Drug Administration recommended a “boxed warning” on labeling materials for breast implants. Boxed warnings, which alert health care providers and consumers to serious risks associated with a drug or device, are the strongest form of warning required by the FDA for labeling. (The FDA offered the recommendation for public comment and review as a draft guidance; it is not yet finalized.) Read the story on CNN HERE.

October 28: Drugs can be safely delivered to cancerous lymph nodes via the lymphatic system and then released inside the nodes using sound waves. Researchers tested the treatment on mice with metastatic breast cancer. Read more in the Science Daily article HERE.

, November 08, 2019 | More Post by

Jenyse, 48, diagnosed at 43
No family history
No known genetic mutation
Jenyse is grateful to her husband for first discovering the lump in her breast that led to her Stage 2 breast cancer diagnosis and for then being by her side for every appointment, treatment, and “breakdown” that followed. She opted for a single mastectomy with reconstruction and chemotherapy. A successful realtor, Jenyse says her family is her greatest accomplishment and the diagnosis that strengthened her marriage also brought her family closer together. Her three now-adult sons even shaved their heads in solidarity with their Mom. Having lost her mother-in-law to cancer just months before her own diagnosis, Jenyse remembers this advice from their last conversation: “Life is too short to sweat the small stuff. Live each day to the fullest,” which Jenyse now does, joined by family as often as possible. As the Snow Queen, Jenyse makes a beautiful and fierce villain but ultimately relates to the tale’s message of individual strength and the power of love. About the heroine, one character says, “I can give her no greater power than she has already. Don’t you see how strong that is?” When tested, Jenyse indeed discovered the strength she always possessed that was made stronger by the love of family.

, October 22, 2019 | More Post by

Welcome to the blog series “Thoughts From Chris,” a quarterly letter from our Executive Director, Chris Schwab. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below!

October is the final wrapping up of summer and the welcome of fall; at Here for the Girls (H4TG), it is a busy time as it is also breast cancer awareness month. This is a month to take a moment to stop and think about the 1 in 8 women in the U.S. who will be diagnosed with this disease. Unfortunately, this statistic could apply to a member of our family, a friend, or a co-worker.
Many breast cancer organizations are focused on helping women manage and live with this disease, as is Here for the Girls. I commend all who dedicate their time and expertise toward this common goal. With our different programs, services, and styles we are all addressing the needs of women diagnosed with breast cancer.
We support young women under the age of 51 because of the unique challenges and fears women in this age range face with their diagnosis. We listen to the words of our women like AJ, who said, “Halfway through chemo, I hit a wall. I felt nobody understood what I was going through.” Our team dedicates their time to understanding the challenges young women face and continually improves comprehensive support programs designed to train facilitators and deliver our support services. AJ left her first meeting comforted by knowing she had “sisters” that understood her fear of not seeing her children grow up. She is now a trained H4TG facilitator and a 2020 calendar girl ambassador helping other women.
We build and nurture relationships with the medical community because they understand firsthand what happens to a young women’s emotional well-being after a diagnosis and that many times the impacts last long after treatment. It is our responsibility to partner with the medical community in offering vital information through educational sessions, our published breast health guide, and our weekend retreats – all that provide the most up-to-date knowledge they need to continue living their best lives beyond this disease.
We connect on a personal level with our communities because people understand that breast cancer is very much a community issue.  It is our mothers, wives, sisters, and partners that are faced with this disease and the statistics that give them a 1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed.  Marsha Hudgins, CEO of Hudgins Contracting and supporter of H4TG shares, “this (H4TG) is for real people who live in our community – people that we can see, talk to and know what they are going through.” Women play a vital role in the health of communities; they are strong leaders, they inspire the youth, and they mentor others. It is important to connect with the community so that together we build an environment where women with a breast cancer diagnosis understand the positive impact they have.
As we launch into the month of October, I ask that you take a moment to think about the statistics and the impact of breast cancer on your community. Take a moment to listen to the sentiments of our calendar girl ambassadors in the this video. Share our services with someone in need. Give us a call or email if you would like to learn more or get involved. Help us be “here for our girls.”

Thank You For Your Support,
Chris Schwab, Executive Director

, October 14, 2019 | More Post by
What does it mean to “go beyond pink?” It’s a fair question. During the month of October, the pink is everywhere! We see pink ribbons on everything from coffee cups to cottage cheese and everything in between. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of fundraising for any organization, but sometimes the pink isn’t doing what you think. I once picked up a pink lollipop in the shape of a ribbon off of a large display of pink products. Reading the label I found nothing about who the sale of this lollipop (and my hardearned $1.19) would benefit. The label said in a tiny font, “proceeds benefit breast cancer awareness.” Awareness? Aren’t we all aware by now? And who is getting that money, exactly? As I walked away (with my $1.19 still in my pocket), I was thinking about how great it makes me feel to meet someone who is going BEYOND merely making us aware of what that pink ribbon means, beyond wearing some pink, and beyond even encouraging others to do the same. They are taking action to make a real change and raising funds to help “the girls” with breast cancer in a tangible way.
That’s what going beyond pink means to us! It’s our supporters and partners who raise funds for our organization and the women we serve. They put our name on their promotional materials along with our mission statement, and often times they even share our website so that someone seeing that post, flyer, or product knows where to get support if they need it.
 
One example this month of “going beyond pink” is the simple profit share hosted by local brand consulting firm DesignHaus on behalf of our organization. Owner Julia Verden-Hillebrand wrote, “This is the beginning of a wonderful partnership with an amazing support network. DesignHaus has committed to support Here for the Girls and the opportunity to give back to the community and support a great cause by continuously donating 5% of ALL proceeds!” Now that’s what I call going beyond pink! Some of our other supporters and partners plan elaborate events like a recent bowling tournament hosted by Clubwaka or a Zumbathon recently hosted by Ironbound Gym, and others simply choose to collect donations throughout the month of October.
However you choose to support our mission and our women, H4TG appreciates each and every dollar, which we use to make a real difference in the lives of young women affected by breast cancer. And yes, we will sport some pink from time to time! It starts a conversation, and for that we are most grateful. In our logo you’ll notice a pink heart that was inspired by a pink ribbon. Why? Because we’re all about the love! We love our ladies, we love our supporters, and we LOVE it when our friends go beyond pink – For the Girls!
– Vicki Vawter, H4TG Program and Community Relations Manager
Category: Blog

, October 14, 2019 | More Post by

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King

If we use the benchmark set by Mrs. King, the greatness of the community at Here for the Girls is immeasurable. Having worked with Here for the Girls for many years, the team at ALOR is constantly blown away by the good that they do for their community and the unwavering support they offer to young women during the toughest times of their lives.

The part of Here for the Girls’ mission that resonates the most with the team at ALOR is their unshakable desire to create a community of women who are strong, courageous, and genuine. Community is a necessity to thrive and survive even in the most mundane of times and to build such a strong network during times of strife is truly awe-inspiring. This community-centric philosophy is part of what inspired our Affirmation Collection and ultimately what connected us with Here for the Girls.

Through no easy feat, the committed members of this organization have made a lasting impact on so many lives and ALOR is proud to play even the smallest part to help maintain this network of women relying on and inspiring each other. It is our ultimate hope that through the channels of communication that this organization has created, no one has to go through their journey alone but instead are surrounded by their sisters and, of course, the good health fairy!

-The Team at ALOR

A portion of the proceeds for bracelets sold from ALOR’s Affirmation Collection (pictured here) in October will be donated to Here for the Girls.

, October 14, 2019 | More Post by
47, diagnosed at 44 
1st degree family history 
No known genetic mutation 
Samantha (aka Sammi Jo), a finance project manager, had reported feeling a lump in her right breast for nearly a year and finally insisted her doctor order a mammogram. Just four months after her wedding, she was diagnosed with stage 0, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) breast cancer and underwent a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. Eight days prior to surgery, her husband found information about a study of a new type of tissue expander that allows patients to expand them at home. Determined to have them, she persevered and achieved the nearly impossible – becoming the first USA patient outside the study to get them, paving the way for others. Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Sammi Jo is a fierce advocate for herself and others, like her character, Little Red Riding Hood. “Throw me to the wolves, and I will return leading the pack,” describes her well. Blending compassion with determination, Sammi Jo is committed to helping others who travel her path and says, “The fear is real, but soon I hope you will be where I am now – a little battered and bruised, but wiser, braver, and with a quiet inner strength that will remind you every day of what you have achieved.”

, September 26, 2019 | More Post by

As an organization that serves young women affected by breast cancer, we make sure to keep up with the latest news so we know what our women face when it comes to treatment and beyond. In this blog series, we will share the month’s news that we feel is most interesting and relevant.

Sept. 2: Breast cancer medicines may force some cancer cells into ‘sleeper mode’, allowing them to potentially come back to life years after initial treatment. Researchers studied a group of breast cancer drugs called hormone treatments, and they say their research opens avenues for finding ways of keeping the cancer cells dormant for longer, or even potentially finding a way of awakening the cells so they can then be killed by the treatment. Read the full story HERE on Science Daily.

Sept. 9: According to a recent study, women who had experienced breast cancer and who followed a low fat diet with a corresponding increase in vegetables, fruit, and grains were 15–35% less likely to die from any cause. Read more in Medical News Today HERE.

Sept. 23: In a recent study led by University at Buffalo and University of Puerto Rico researchers, those studied who consumed sofrito (a condiment with primary ingredients of onion and garlic) more than once per day had a 67% decrease in risk compared to women who never ate it. The idea for the study stemmed from previous scientific evidence showing that eating onions and garlic may have a protective effect against cancer. Read the whole story in Science Daily HERE.

Sept. 26: Young survivors of breast cancer face higher risk for late congestive heart failure than their counterparts without cancer, according to study results published in Cancer. Read the full article in HemOnc Today HERE.

, September 09, 2019 | More Post by

Welcome to our blog series, “Mission Moment!” It’s a snapshot of the impact our mission and programs have on the women we serve. If you have any questions about Here for the Girls support services and programs, email the program team at support@hereforthegirls.org!

Every year H4TG selects 12 members (aka Boobers!) to be featured in our annual calendar and to serve as ambassadors for the organization. Part of the requirement to be a calendar model is fundraising. Each model is given a fundraising goal to be reached by the end of the calendar year. One of our most recent models elected to gift funds she raised to another calendar model. She had already reached her goal and wanted to help her fellow sister reach her goal as well. She told us that, “teamwork makes the dream work,” and that she is “here for the girls!” That’s what we are all about – we will continue to band together to live out our mission!

, September 03, 2019 | More Post by

As an organization that serves young women affected by breast cancer, we make sure to keep up with the latest news so we know what our women face when it comes to treatment and beyond. In this blog series, we will share the month’s news that we feel is most interesting and relevant.

Aug. 7: A new study found women who switched to poultry from beef, lamb or pork were 28 percent less likely to get breast tumors. It also shows those who ate the most red meat overall, had a 23 percent higher risk of the disease to those who rarely consumed it. Read the full story on the New York Post HERE.

Aug. 8: Electromagnetic fields might help prevent some breast cancers from spreading to other parts of the body, new research has found. Read the full story in Science Daily HERE.

Aug. 10: Researchers have been able to coax human breast cancer cells to turn into fat cells in a new proof-of-concept study in mice. The researchers took mice implanted with an aggressive form of human breast cancer, and treated them with both a diabetic drug called rosiglitazone and a cancer treatment called trametinib, which caused the cancer cells to change to fat cells. Read more in Science Alert HERE.

Aug. 26: A team of researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital has developed an innovative way to knock out a gene connected to triple-negative breast cancer (called Lipocalin 2) using the editing system CRISPR and has shown its potential for treating triple-negative breast tumors in mice. Read the full story in FierceBiotech HERE.

Aug. 29: A new analysis adds to the evidence that many women who take hormone therapy during menopause are more likely to develop breast cancer — and remain at higher risk of cancer for more than a decade after they stop taking the drugs. The full story is in STAT News HERE.

 

, September 03, 2019 | More Post by

44, diagnosed at 42

2nd degree family history, no known mutation

Shannon, mother of two teens, wife, and virtual assistant, had cervical cancer at age 37 and a family history of breast cancer prompting her doctor to order annual breast MRIs. Her first MRI found suspicious areas in her right breast. Testing confirmed Stage 1 breast cancer, and she opted for a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. Shannon’s first battle with cancer was private with just her devoted husband and family for support as she detached from friends she felt couldn’t understand. With the second diagnosis, she turned outward, not inward and found a mission she calls “Reflect Ripples,” to help women through their “storms.” Attending the annual Here for the Girls retreat was “the best decision” because she uncovered the emptiness left by her first battle and found sisters to help her heal through the next. Of her character, Shannon says, “Mistress Miller and I are kindred spirits. We both are strong, resourceful women who found ways to rise above the challenge of seemingly impossible tasks – hers to spin straw into gold and mine to conquer cancer twice. I am now a better version of myself and able to spin the fear, sadness, and depression into gold – a mission of helping others, as I was helped.”

jasonchampagnemd.com