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Volunteer Spotlight | Helen


“The Pink House is so welcoming and provides so much love and support with no questions asked and it is ALL free of charge… My heart told me I just have to give back. Giving of my time and volunteering was the way to do it.”

 

Photo of Susan standing in front of a field of flowers

Helen Dansker is relatively new to Charlotte—moving here from Arkansas, and with roots in Ohio—but she is already a part of our family at The Pink House. When asked what type of things she has volunteered to help with, the list spills forth.


Shares Helen, “I have stuffed hospital comfort bags, stamped and addressed envelopes for mailings, coordinated motivational cards, organized inventory, helped with food set up for events. Sometimes this is by appointment, but I also just pop in to see what might need to be done.”


The help Helen gives comes in part from a drive to encourage others and to be there for them in times of need. It also comes from knowing, firsthand, how important Carolina Breast Friends’ mission is to someone experiencing breast cancer. 


Following a routine mammogram in 2018, Helen was called back for further testing, and a biopsy showed she had malignant cancer in her left breast. She opted for a lumpectomy but ultimately, after additional biopsies, she made the decision to get a double mastectomy. Subsequently, after five years of pain in her right breast following bilateral reconstruction, a surgeon performing surgery to address the issue discovered that Helen has developed stage four breast cancer that has metastasized to her sternum and ribs. Something that is not curable or operable.


“That hit me like a ton of bricks,” says Helen. “I thought I had been cancer-free for five years and had been taking my medicine faithfully. It showed me that we aren’t guaranteed anything in life. And I had better take advantage of life while I can still do it.”

Helen goes on to describe how she has responded to the losses she’s endured with and beyond her breast cancer. She shares, “Within the last five years--not to mention breast cancer and a double mastectomy--I have lost my husband, father and both of my golden retrievers, and I have rebounded. I’ve managed to keep my sense of humor and positive attitude and really just want to make every day as great as it can be.”


For Helen, that means putting time into a community that understands her journey. She shares, “My friends and my family are all so happy I discovered The Pink House and have become a part of a community that is going through what I am going through. None of my loved ones quite understand what metastatic breast cancer is like, and although they love and support me, they just don’t quite get it. Everybody at The Pink House does.”

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