April's Mission Moment was written by Alicia Roberts, CBF Volunteer
For many breast cancer survivors who participate in the Mentoring Program at The Pink House, finding that person who understands what you're thinking and feeling is what it's all about.
That's why Louise McArthur feels so grateful for the day she stepped through the doors of The Pink House and met our Operations Manager Charmaine, who was not only able to listen and relate, but also connected Louise to one of our volunteer mentors, Stephanie Drum.
It was in summer 2022, and Louise had just been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, which had spread to her bones following her initial diagnosis in 2014. She was facing another round of treatment while still coming to grips with the possibility that children might not be part of the future she had dreamed about.
She went to The Pink House seeking to connect with someone diagnosed young like her (she was 31 at her first diagnosis) and who still wanted to have children.
CBF matched her with Stephanie, whom she now calls a sister.
"Mentoring helps you not feel alone," Louise explained. "Cancer sucks. ... It's kind of like a double-edged sword. You don't want anyone to go through it, but it's helpful to have someone who understands [firsthand]."
Louise's mentor, Stephanie, was diagnosed in 2007 at age 23, and then again with metastatic cancer in 2010, at age 25. After careful consideration, she and her husband adopted a child.
Now 30, Stephanie, who left her fulltime job to focus on caring for her young son, cherishes the opportunity to support others experiencing breast cancer. "When I share my story with other survivors and thrivers, it seems to give comfort," she says. "I decided if I could give a little more comfort to them, it would be good."
Stephanie's mentoring relationship with Louise takes many forms. They have attended events at The Pink House together, they've met for lunch, and they attended the Young Survivor Coalition in Charlotte in February. She's also researched financial aid information and just checks in to see if Louise needs anything.
Above all, she tries to make sure Louise, and anyone else going through treatment for breast cancer, remembers to take care of themselves. "Don't forget about yourself," she explains. "You need to advocate for yourself."
The care, support and attention Stephanie provides as a mentor has inspired Louise's next step at The Pink House. She would like to be a mentor, too.
"My big thing is staying positive, fighting and keeping the faith as you walk through this," Louise said. "The least I can do is try to help people coming up through this process. ... The Pink House has been really helpful, and the community is really beautiful, and I'm glad to be part of that."
Learn more about the mentoring program here.
To be matched with a mentor or to become a mentor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.