Most, if not all, of us in Tantramar know someone who has battled breast cancer – a friend, our mother, a sister, or a co-worker. And so we know what a difficult journey breast cancer is. For over six years the Tantramar Breast Cancer Organization has been providing individualized and confidential support and resources for women and men in the local area who have been diagnosed with the disease. Located in the Extra Mural Office of the Sackville Memorial Hospital, the TBCO’s resource library is full of information on breast cancer and how to live with the diagnosis. The group also holds monthly support group meetings from September to June on the second Monday of the month from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. in the hospital boardroom. Cathy LeBlanc, a board member and support group facilitator, admits, “When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, being part of a support group with a bunch of strangers was the last thing I wanted to do. Now that I have been part of the group for about four years I wonder why I waited. I have met an amazing group of strong women that have given me the support I need as well as my space and privacy.”
In addition, the TBCO (made up of just six volunteer board members) also tries to assist with the extra financial burden that comes with a cancer diagnosis. Liz Steeves, TBCO president (who has friends who have battled breast cancer), explains, “The much-needed help that we offer is very broad and depends on the needs of the patient. For example, we have provided gas cards and parking passes. We have assisted with purchasing wigs, lymphedema sleeves and other items and services. We have organized meal preparation, and purchased lunch cards at the school cafeteria so that moms don’t have to worry about making lunches for their children on top of trying to get better. We also purchase mastectomy bras and prosthetic breasts. Sometimes, women have been using the same ones for many years. It is very rewarding for us to know that we help women to worry less and feel better.”
Any resident of the Tantramar region who has been diagnosed with breast cancer is eligible to access TBCO’s services. All requests are kept strictly confidential.
In order to offer the crucial support and essential resources, the group hosts just one annual fundraiser. This year’s much anticipated event, Music for Life, is being held on Saturday, June 14, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Music Barn on Station Road in Upper Sackville (doors open at 1p.m.). There will be live entertainment (Naomi Doncaster & Kyle Johnson, Little Nashville, Uniake Ramblers, Royal Hicks and Friends, and Pic’n’Grin), a bake sale, a canteen, silent auction, suppertime BBQ and much more! Admission is $10 per person.
For more information or if you would like to contribute to the bake sale or silent auction, please get in touch with Liz Steeves at 364-1904 or firstname.lastname@example.org.