The fall campaign is underway to help Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) in its mission to promote early detection of breast cancer, research new treatments and support women who have received a diagnosis that impacts their life tremendously. With a goal of $30,000, DBCC hopes to help as many women as possible who have received a breast cancer diagnosis.
“It is estimated that in Delaware during 2023, there will be over 1,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed with close to 200 expected deaths from the disease,” Francesca Vogel, CEO of DBCC said. “Not only that, 1 in 8 women as well as 1 in 833 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Our goal is to make everyone aware that this risk is real, and knowledge is power.”
DBCC offers several programs designed to provide those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer the support they need to manage this life-changing diagnosis.
“When you are diagnosed with breast cancer, the one thing you need most is support,” Vogel said. “Friends and family are amazing support teams for those dealing with this disease, but it can be difficult for them to understand what someone is going through. Treatment for breast cancer can be very difficult and unless you have gone through it, you likely don’t know how hard it can be, not only on the body but also on emotions and mental state. This is where DBCC shines, providing so many options for women who want to connect with others who are dealing with the exact same thing they are at the moment.”
Survivors who have utilized the services of DBCC say that the organization was a big part of their journey. Heather Rowe found that talking to those who had walked the same path she did after her Stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis was an important part of her recovery.
“The hardest part for me of all of this has been not really being able to connect with my friends and family and for them to not be able to understand what I was going through. Knowing that there’s a group of brave strong women who have been through this before me that I can lean on if I need to has been a huge saving grace for me,” Rowe said. “Some of my favorite events through the coalition have been stained glass class through GlassHowse in Milford and any of the pick your own events at Pfeiffer’s. Probably one of my favorite memories was sitting at the picnic tables eating ice cream with the other ladies. I think we picked blueberries that day. It was really a lot of fun.”
Although providing support is one of the important things DBCC offers, there are also other areas where the organization works to promote early detection and work to find better treatments.
“This year, DBCC presented mentor trainings, adding 20 new peer mentors to the 307 active peer mentors who provide one-on-one emotional support, resources and research-based information to 114 newly diagnosed women,” Vogel said. “We held over 334 survivor programs and activities, serving 2,677 breast cancer survivors. The Survivorship Team continues to expand the Yes2Health program, offering 128 classes throughout the state with 772 participants.”
Vogel continued that DBCC had also expanded services to add My Sisters Keeper support sessions which are programs designed to support women of color while also adding Viva La Vida, a program for Latina survivors. Almost 1,100 women were provided assistance in navigating through the screening process as DBCC offered 636 mammogram screenings. At those screenings, 166 women were provided interpretation while 129 were provided transportation. With all of this support available, Heather explained that her diagnosis actually made her see she had a lot to be thankful for in her life.
“There is so much of a spotlight placed on breast cancer awareness in October, but people are diagnosed the other 11 months of the year as well,” Vogel said. “For too many men and women, this disease is a stark reality, and that diagnosis can come at any time. One of the reasons we are able to do what we do is because of the generosity of others and those who have walked this path before. The men and women who are willing to give up their time to help others who are facing a disease that respects no schedule, touches lives, not just of the person diagnosed but their families, friends and neighbors as well.”
Vogel provided insight into what a donation to DBCC can bring.
“A $1,000 donation contributes to the basic living needs of a survivor,” Vogel said. “It might be paying their rent, utilities or grocery bills because treatments have made it difficult for them to work. A $500 donation helps us expand DBCC’s Breast Cancer Update, a public health research symposium that brings national experts together who are working on cutting-edge treatments and therapies. A $250 donation helps us grow our in-person and virtual survivorship programs.”
Even smaller donations make an impact, Vogel explained.
“Any amount you can give will go towards the fight against breast cancer along with the support of those who have been diagnosed,” Vogel said. “Just $75 supports transportation costs for a patient getting to treatment while a $50 donation provides educational materials for newly diagnosed patients. Your generosity makes a difference in the lives of those who are counting on us to stand together and fight.”
The mission of DBCC is to empower the community by raising awareness of breast health issues and increasing access to care through outreach, education and support services while also facilitating early detection and treatment of breast cancer. To achieve this mission, funding is critical. Through community events, DBCC reached 2,330 people in 2023 alone. At these events, almost 500 individuals were referred to DBCC programs.
“Thanks to the support of our community, DBCC was able to provide $72,214 in assistance toward women diagnosed with breast cancer,” Vogel said. “Assistance ranges from quality of life needs to emergency funding when other funding sources are not available.”
Heather offered some advice to those who may be newly diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Something that I would say to someone who has recently been diagnosed is that just remember all of the survivors that have been through this before you and that you are not alone,” Heather said. “Everyone’s journey is unique. But there are a lot of us out here who have been through it and have made it and are more than happy to be there for a shoulder to cry on. We want to listen or sit with you just to let you know you are not alone. And you’re stronger than you think.”
To donate to the DBCC Fall Giving Campaign, visit https://give.debreastcancer.org/campaigns/27559-dbcc-s-2023-fall-giving-campaign. To learn more about DBCC and the services they provide, contact them at 302-778-1102 or toll free at 1-866-312-DBCC (3222). You can also email them at [email protected].
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