For the girls

For the girls

The Official Blog of Here for the girls

, January 24, 2020 | More Post by
Dear Friends of H4TG,
Happy New Year!  As we close out 2019, we thank you — our community, partners, and friends — for your work and tireless commitment to moving our mission forward.  Your support of our efforts positively impacted our success. Let’s take a look at some H4TG milestones!
In 2019 YOU helped us to:Enhance our staff by adding a licensed clinical social worker. Her role is to work closely with the H4TG program team to: 1) provide subject matter expertise for both the staff and trained facilitator teams in navigating challenges they face in helping women with a breast cancer diagnosis and 2) assist in developing initiatives resulting in improved program excellence.
  • Develop a program initiative designed for our members with stage IV, incurable breast cancer to address the unique needs they face. To start, we hosted our first annual You’re in Charge metastatic retreat in June. The retreat provided educational and informational sessions to help members plan for the future while helping them enjoy the now.
  • Develop a program initiative centered on supporting our members through educational sessions.  These sessions are designed to focus on specific breast cancer related topics, such as reconstruction surgery or women’s health.  Sessions are presented by our partners in the medical community or subject matter experts in a particular field and help answer many of the questions our women have.
  • Develop a bereavement process to honor the memory of our members whose lives have been cut short by breast cancer. We honor their passing through our new In Our Hearts life celebration program. The program includes a memorial to the deceased member on our In Our Hearts web page, inclusion of the deceased member’s name in our annual ceremony, and inclusion in our annual In Our Hearts glass memorial sculpture.
  • Increase our grant and foundation funding by 65% to support the efforts of our program initiatives.
We enter 2020 with a sense of enthusiasm for the goals set for the year and determination to continually improve our program services. Here for the Girls offers what is important to our members – a shared experience, unconditional acceptance, inclusive relationships, and knowledge that provides a sense of empowerment. 
Stay tuned for news on:New service offerings tied to the 2019 initiative for women with a metastatic diagnosis (incurable stage IV)
  • Launch of an improved online presence to include a robust private portal just for our members
  • Launch of the Transitional Phases of Support Model (TPSM) and related app that will better identify the support requirements of our members based on their individual needs and circumstances
We are incredibly fortunate to have such great partnerships within the communities we serve. As always, we thank you and appreciate your commitment to our women, and we look forward to the upcoming year.
Sincerely,
Chris Schwab, Executive Director
Category: Blog

, January 24, 2020 | More Post by

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” -Helen Keller

Every year the H4TG Team brainstorms and establishes new organization-wide goals. Several goals are mission-related, which means they are set to directly impact our members (aka Boobers!). We are extremely excited about the road ahead for 2020, especially with new program service offerings that will provide more opportunities for social and emotional support and education for all our members, and expanded programs for our members with metastatic breast cancer.

Interested in ways YOU can get involved to make a difference at H4TG? If you are a survivor, join the Boober! Shaping the Future Committee! This Boober!-only committee meets on a quarterly basis to discuss mission-related topics that directly impact the future of H4TG. To date, the committee has helped shape the member communication process, the bereavement process, encouraged the establishment new service offerings for members with metastatic breast cancer plus much MORE! The only requirement for joining the committee is that you need to be a current member (Boober!).

If you are not a survivor/member, you can get involved and support our mission by becoming a volunteer (we have MANY opportunities for this!) or becoming a donor/sponsor.

Please contact us at support@hereforthegirls.org to learn more about any of these opportunities!

, January 08, 2020 | More Post by

Age 39, diagnosed at 37

No family history, no known genetic mutation

After a routine mammogram screening due to having dense breasts, Hope, who works as a counselor, was called back in for a 3D mammogram and ultrasound that led to a biopsy and then a stage 1 breast cancer diagnosis. Shocked to hear the diagnosis, she recalls returning to her car right after the appointment holding a binder full of information from the nurse and asking herself, did they just say I have cancer? She was scheduled to receive her Ph. D in Organizational Leadership after her lumpectomy and just as she was heading into four rounds of chemo. Determined twalk across the stage for her graduation, she pushed back the chemo until after receiving her diploma. Radiation treatment followed chemo. Hope’s name reflects her attitude in life. During treatment, Hope always kept a smile on her face and in her heart, and it was important to her that her friends and family shared her positive energy. When thinking about the 1920s, Hope says she appreciates history for its lessons. “My hope is that history won’t repeat itself with the negatives but rather that we learn from them, grow, and have the tools needed to do and be better.” Now, Hope is using her history of breast cancer to help others. 

, December 24, 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.

Dec. 4: Scientists at the National Institutes of Health found that women who use permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who don’t use these products. The study published in the International Journal of Cancer and suggests that breast cancer risk increased with more frequent use of these chemical hair products. Read more on the National Institute for Health website HERE.

Dec. 9: A recent study indicates that even light to moderate alcohol consumption was associated with elevated cancer (including breast cancer) risks. In the study published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the overall cancer risk appeared to be the lowest at zero alcohol consumption. Science Daily has the whole story HERE.

Dec. 12: A research team has previously shown that fatty particles from the bloodstream may boost the growth of breast cancer cells. They now show that the fat particles bind to the breast cancer cell surface and are then taken into the cell, providing a large supply of fuel that drives growth of the cancer cells. Read the whole article in Science Daily HERE.

Dec. 16: Many U.S. women with breast cancer ultimately die of other causes, a new study finds, highlighting the need for survivors and their doctors to pay attention to overall health. In the new study, researchers found that among breast cancer patients who died five to 10 years after their diagnosis, only 38% of deaths were caused by the disease. HealthDay has the full article HERE.

Dec. 17: A large new study finds that women who lost weight after age 50 and kept it off had a lower risk of breast cancer than women whose weight remained stable. Women with sustained weight loss had a lower risk of breast cancer than those whose weight remained the same, and the more weight a woman lost, the lower her risk of breast cancer. See the full story HERE in HealthDay.

Dec. 23: Patients with breast cancer who use supplements during chemotherapy may be at an increased risk of recurrence and death, a new study suggests.Use of dietary supplements that boost levels of antioxidants, iron, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids appeared to lower the effectiveness of chemotherapy, researchers reported. Read the full article in Reuters HERE.

, December 17, 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!

We are in the midst of our annual appeal which doubles your donation now through the end of 2019! Curious to know where you money goes? Well, for starters, $0.81 of every dollar goes directly to our mission which is to improve the lives of young women affected by breast cancer. But wait, what does that really mean? It means that your donation will do amazing things… here are just some of ways:

  • Provide social and emotional support for our members through diagnosis, treatment, and beyond
  • Provide a social work support team to help navigate the complexities of a breast cancer diagnosis and how it impacts our members
  • Provide in-depth training for a team of facilitators that lead our in-person monthly support gatherings
  • Provide tools and guidance of how to re-balance yourself after a breast cancer diagnosis

Every dollar counts so please consider contributing to H4TG by donating to our annual appeal today! Donations can be made at hereforthegirls.org/annualappeal.

, December 06, 2019 | More Post by

Debra, 33, diagnosed at 29

No family history, no known genetic mutation 

Debra, a newlywed and mother to a young stepson, accidentally found a lump while resting in bed. Because of Debra’s age, her ob/gyn wasn’t concerned but ordered a mammogram, “just in case.” In this case, it was Stage 4 breast cancer, having already spread to other organs. She immediately underwent chemotherapy infusions, two lumpectomies, and radiation. She remains in active treatment to delay the spread and states her current occupation is “trying to stay alive.” Debra says while cancer has stolen so much from her, such as the ability to bear children and peace of mind, she has found some positives, including the H4TG sisterhood. She has learned to put her dreams first, knowing she might not have a long life to achieve them. A passionate dressage rider, Debra describes her horse Jacob as “my heart and soul.” So just as the princess in the Goose Girl is ultimately saved by her talking horse, Debra feels Jacob is her lifesaver. “He never has anything to say, he’s just always a shoulder to cry on, a big clown to lick me when I’m feeling down.” Her dream is to achieve the riding level necessary for her and Jacob to win a U.S. Dressage Federation silver medal.

, December 05, 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.

Nov. 3: Breast cancer could be detected up to five years before there are any clinical signs of it, using a blood test that identifies the body’s immune response to substances produced by tumor cells, according to new research. Read the full story in Science Daily HERE.

Nov. 13: According to a recent study, people who suffered a heart attack or heart failure then had a drastically increased risk of certain types of cancer, including breast cancer. Researchers noted that heart disease and cancer share risk factors, but they are interested in studying whether there’s something about heart problems that could trigger cancer, according to this article in HealthDay.

Nov. 14: Higher levels of mindfulness (a technique based on meditation traditions) were associated with less pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression and sleep disturbance for women with metastatic breast cancer, according to a small study. Read more in HealthDay HERE.

Nov. 25: (Note: this is not related to heart-health study mentioned above.) More than one in ten cancer patients do not die from their cancer but from heart and blood vessel problems instead, according to new research. For some cancers, like breast, prostate, endometrial, and thyroid cancer, around half will die from cardiovascular disease. Read the full story in Science Daily HERE.

, November 22, 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!

When someone hears the words “you have cancer,” finding support related to emotional and social resilience is crucial in facing the journey on their own terms. This is even more important for those faced with a metastatic diagnosis. To help meet that need, Here for the Girls is piloting a virtual chat to provide women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer with structured emotional support and an opportunity to connect and share with others traveling the same difficult path.

Any H4TG member diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer is eligible to register. Ten openings are available for the pilot group; a waiting list will be maintained. If you are facing metastatic breast cancer and would like a compassionate, supportive environment in which to connect with fellow travelers on this unsought journey, please register today.

, 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.