Where I go monday mornings

Writer Anita Manley shares her story of chartible giving

Author: Anita Manley
Posted: Friday, May 28, 2010

Ten years ago, I joined a club I didn’t want to be a member of – I was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Why me,” I asked myself. Then I looked at the statistics and realized, “Why not me?”

 

I had just retired at the ripe old age of 56 and was looking forward to lazy days doing whatever I wanted – shopping at the mall to my heart’s content, ‘doing lunch’ with my friends, joining a book club and traveling with my husband. Instead, I had dates for other new adventures I never expected – biopsies, bone scans, endless blood tests, surgery, chemotherapy and check-ups with my gynecologist, my gastroenterologist and my newest best friend, my oncologist.

 

Support from my wonderful husband (who should have earned his RN degree), my children and grandchildren got me over the roughest spots emotionally, but it was the information and support from the American Cancer Society (ACS) that helped me to realize that I could get through this chapter in my life and come out on the other side - and I did, although bald, minus one breast and (just a) little worse for wear. Some of the most encouraging cheerleaders during this period were the people who were veterans of “World War Cancer”, the ones who had been there and done that, who convinced me that cancer was not a death sentence. It was then that I knew I wanted to be there for other cancer patients.

 

When the ACS asked me if I was interested in being a patient navigator, I said “Count me in!” Now, I’m a proud member of a new club that I want to be a member of. Every Monday morning, my friend and fellow cancer survivor Cheryl Fischer and I drive over the Newburgh Beacon Bridge to Hudson Valley Hematology and Oncology in Fishkill and talk to patients, offer them information and if we can, give hope and comfort. It is truly a joy and a privilege to participate in this program.

I recently read that traumatic events in our lives have a purpose. My Jewish religion teaches me that our purpose on earth is to teach others using our own experiences. That’s what I do every Monday morning. That’s why I’m a cancer survivor!

 

More volunteers are needed to do this wonderful and worthwhile work. In addition, the American Cancer Society needs volunteers to participate in the Reach to Recovery Program where cancer survivors contact newly diagnosed patients by phone to talk and comfort. Volunteers are also needed to drive cancer patients for treatment. Anyone interested may call the ACS at 1-800-227-2345.

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