It never fails to knock me out how some people can turn an awful experience into something positive. The most famous example in the breast cancer community has to be Susan G. Komen for the Cure. It’s a household name now, but it didn’t spring to life fully formed. It started with one woman’s promise to her dying sister, in one community. Today that community is global.
Kathy Gurland did something similar when she lost not one, but two sisters to cancer. She could have crawled into a hole and never come out. Instead, she founded PEG’S Group, dedicated to helping anyone with any kind of cancer navigate the healthcare system. She developed a very useful compass that I blogged about in November. Her efforts are largely focused in New York but her group helps people anywhere.
Another example I just learned about is the Pink Link Breast Cancer Support Network. Vicki Tashman created it when it was her turn to get breast cancer. It’s like match.com for women who are being treated or have undergone treatment, and their caregivers. She said in more.com that she realized not everyone had the same access to healthcare and support resources that she did. That resonated for me because like Vicki, I had great access. I had the luxury of finding doctors I like in addition to being experts in their field.
Women with breast cancer are even influencing the way hospitals are designed. Diana Spellman is an interior designer, who, thanks to her own experience, is creating holistic healing environments for other patients.
There are too many examples for me to recount here, but they’re going on everywhere, every day. Here’s to all those women who are busy making lemonade.