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Bosom Buddies: Five Local Breast Cancer Support Groups

Courage and strength triumph over adversity right here where we live. Breast cancer patients, survivors, and their families who have fought the disease have turned around to become founders, activists, and volunteers at these local breast cancer organizations.

Albie Aware Breast Cancer Foundation was created in 2004 by Doug Carson to honor his late wife, Albie. Tragically, Albie lost her battle with breast cancer and the foundation now aims to replace fear with facts. Since its founding, Albie Aware has provided assistance for diagnostic testing to thousands of women and men in the Sacramento area. “Along with testing, we serve as a go-to resource,” says Amanda C. Nelson, Executive Director of Albie Aware.  “Our mission is to provide patient advocacy, prevention education, and compassionate support to local individuals facing or fighting breast cancer.”


IMAGES OF HOPE (Serving El Dorado County)
Glass art making, silk scarf painting, yoga practice, and equine therapy are just a few of the free classes offered by Images of Hope to those who have been impacted by cancer. Funded by the Marshall Foundation for Community Health, the activities provide a pleasurable respite from the stress that cancer patients and caregivers must deal with on a day-to-day basis. The classes are small and casual with local people from all walks of life. No prior experience in art or movement is required. Additionally, there is a breast cancer support group that meets monthly and most events are held at the Marshall Cancer Resource Center in Cameron Park. Images of Hope is also responsible for Pink in the Night during the month of October where downtown Placerville is illuminated with pink lights to symbolize the community’s united fight against cancer.

Save Ourselves

When a group of young women came together to support one another during their breast cancer treatment, the collaboration turned into an extraordinary friendship. That peer support became the prototype for Save Ourselves (SOS) Breast Cancer Organization, founded in 1991 by those same, strong cancer survivors. Today, its members and volunteers speak to civic groups, professional organizations, schools, workplaces, health clubs, legislators, and community events about breast health awareness. SOS also offers a variety of educational forums and fundraising events.

Girls Love Mail

Words can be compelling, especially if they are written by hand. Girls Love Mail collects handwritten–and often artistic–letters of encouragement and delivers them to women who have been newly diagnosed with breast cancer. “I founded the charity in August of 2011 after receiving over 200 letters, mostly from strangers, that helped in my healing from breast cancer,” says Gina Mulligan, founder of Girls Love Mail. “It’s such a simple, yet powerful way to provide comfort. People from around the country have joined in the cause and so far, we’ve sent letters to over 165,000 women!”

Placer Breast Cancer Foundation

Breast cancer survivors and South Placer County residents Carol Garcia and Teri Munger formed the Placer Breast Cancer Endowment in 2005. The goal was to raise $1.5 million to endow a Breast Cancer Chair at the U.C. Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We reached that $1.5 million-dollar goal in 2014,” says Garcia, Board Chair.  “But the fight had just begun; and now, as the Placer Breast Cancer Foundation, our volunteer-based group still works tirelessly to raise funds to fight breast cancer and promote education throughout the Placer and Sacramento County area.”

by  Janet Scherr