"To hear others share their breast cancer journey and number of years as a Survivor, gave me hope. I knew I had to sign up to be a Mentor."
More often than not, the Survivors & Thrivers that walk through our doors at CBF for the first time are newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Dena is an exception. Diagnosed with Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in September 2015, she was a recipient of a comfort bag at her first chemotherapy appointment, but didn't have her first interaction at The Pink House until the following year at our holiday gathering - six months after she completed her treatment.
"The Sunday before I knew what my treatment was going to be, a guest minister at church said at the end of his sermon, 'I don't know who this is for, but God wants you to know that you're going to have to sit in that chemo seat so others will know that they can make it, too.'"
After experiencing the love, care, community and sisterhood at our CBF event, Dena turned prophecy into reality and signed up to be a Mentor for our One-on-One Mentoring Program.
Now, just over five years later, Dena is still being matched with newly diagnosed Mentees who need the support. Whether it's calls, texts or getting together for dinner, Dena provides them all with the encouragement, empowerment and love just as she experienced upon her first visit.
"It was important for me to step up and be a Mentor because I knew what I had gone through wasn't just for me to grow in faith, but to be a blessing to someone else and give them hope that they can make it through."
Dena offers the following advice for anyone who has been newly diagnosed:
• Take advantage of being matched with a Mentor through CBF.
• Each woman's journey is different so don't get caught up in what happened to someone else.
• Ask as many questions as needed to your health care team, and don't rely on the internet!
• Don't get caught up with survival percentages.
We are so grateful for Mentors, like Dena, who contribute so much of their time supporting our mission by caring for new Survivors. If you are interested in being a Mentor, or are looking to be matched with a Mentor, call 704-370-7773 or email us.
*Pictured bottom left is Dena with one of her my Mentees, Saronee.