Having a mentor while going through a breast cancer diagnosis can be incredibly helpful. Your medical needs are a priority, but so is your mental health. When you are able to talk with someone regularly who is going through the same thing you are and has beaten it, they can offer immeasurable emotional support.
One organization in the United States offers this service free of charge. ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis was started in Wisconsin just over 20 years ago. They now have 600 volunteer Mentors who are available throughout the U.S. and even some other countries, and that number continues to grow.
“We envision a world where personalized peer support is part of everyone’s quality breast cancer care, leading to a more confident, empowered survivor,” their website reads.
Judy Midlin is the Director of Program Services at ABCD, and Jessica Storm is someone who participates in the program. They sat down with the hosts of The Morning Blend to talk about the benefits of ABCD.
ABCD is a free, personalized, one-on-one mentoring service that complements the work of a patient’s medical team. The program is for anyone who has been affected by breast cancer, including the patient, their family, and their friends.
Their mentors have all been trained, and ABCD matches a patient with a mentor based on not only the person, but the diagnostic, as well.
“So when they’re feeling overwhelmed, when they’re afraid, they’re lonely, they’re trying to figure out how to juggle their schedules, they have an anniversary of perhaps one of their treatments coming up — we’re the place that they can call and talk with someone who can help them through that time,” Midlin said.
Jessica Storm is a participant in the ABCD program. She and her husband struggled with fertility issues and went through the heartbreak of miscarriages before finally becoming pregnant.
But when Storm was 28 weeks pregnant, she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.
“I got my diagnosis, and it was, ‘You save my baby, and then you save me,” she said.
She contacted ABCD days after her diagnosis with a “laundry list” of things she would need in a mentor. She wanted someone who was young and pregnant with a similar diagnosis to her own.
And ABCD delivered.
Her mentor, Lisa Armitage, was exactly what Storm was looking for. Armitage had battled breast cancer while young and pregnant, and not only had she beaten cancer, but her child was also healthy and thriving.
Armitage lives just minutes away from Storm, and they were matched together within just a day or two of Storm reaching out to ABCD. They were able to text and meet up in person multiple times.
“I can’t say enough about the comfort that you’re gonna find with the ABCD program,” Storm said, “’cause they are gonna match you up with someone that you can meet face-to-face who has walked the path. They’re living proof that you can beat this.”
Storm is now cancer-free, and her little girl is healthy and adorable!
Take a look at this video to learn more!
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.