Paula Munro was shaken to the core one year ago – with a breast cancer diagnosis, “My world stopped, and the only focus for the next 9 months was testing, putting together my medical team, making decisions, surgery and treatment.” It was all so much to deal with, but Paula stayed laser-focused on her health, “In October 2016, I completed my last radiation treatment, and was sent back out into my world as a cancer survivor.”
It was then – something happened. Something felt different. The focus was no longer on beating the disease. The 44-year-old just couldn’t adjust to life after cancer, “After all the strength, faith, trust, and fight, I all of the sudden felt lost.” A quick google search took her to the Breast Cancer Network of WNY and Paula says that was an incredible blessing, “I am so grateful that I have found them, even though it wasn’t until after my treatment was complete. The Breast Cancer Network has helped me heal emotionally and has also directed me into the desire to support and help others that are faced with a breast cancer diagnosis.”
That is just what the network’s focus is. The non-profit, founded by a group of breast cancer survivors, has been around for nearly 30 years. Their mission is to help support and educate survivors and their families. Run mainly by volunteers, the BCN of WNY is hoping to put themselves out of business – by helping to raise funds that can be donated to metastatic breast cancer research, in order to be part of the solution.
And Rob Jones, Executive Director of BCN says all funds collected stay right here – it’s a network that has become invaluable to survivors, “Our signature program, TLC Totes, is designed specifically for women who have just received a breast cancer diagnosis and we have a bunch of other very important programming. Sometimes I think the best thing we offer is the opportunity for survivors to interact and share their stories with each other. Having peers to talk to can be very comforting and healing.”
It’s a grass roots effort, and Rob Jones says with this – it takes quite a village, “We always need volunteers to help with our programs, events, and fundraisers. And of course, donations from individuals and corporations are our lifeline. More than anything though, I would like more people to know about BCN and what we do. So if people know about us and help spread our word, we can help more people.”
People like Paula. A survivor. Her life is better now. She says she has found a way to heal – physically and emotionally, “It is a scary journey for sure, but with the support of your inside family and friends, and your new community support, you get through it, you heal and you never quit fighting. I am thankful I had found them and hope every newly diagnosed breast cancer patient in this community, is aware of the outpouring support and programs BCN offers.”
For more information on the BCN visit their site HERE.