gave Kerri the gift of friends, right when she needed them.
You provided connections and friendship. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Kerri Schifflebien was in a fog.
“I was told by several people to go to the Cancer Council, but there was so much else on my plate,” Kerri said recently as she made time after work to share her story with you.
A single mom of two young women, and a very young grandma of one, she remembers the fog she walked through two years ago.
“I was a brand-new grandma and my own kids were still in school. Add to that, my children’s father, who lives in another town, was already fighting stage-four cancer. Now their mother had cancer. Our lives were stretched and I was having to start my own journey in treatment.”
Your financial support was what Kerri needed during that stress-filled time. After much encouragement from a co-worker, and fellow donor to the Cancer Council, she made the call to CCEC.
“Paula was and is great, she let me know all of the options for help and even suggested that I might participate in the Sisters of Survival (SOS), a local independent survivor support group. My need in my mind that day was some help with expenses.”
But Paula’s suggestion planted the seed of what brought Kerri to the personal support she cherishes so much today.
“I appreciate that financial help so much, but that is overshadowed by what she brought up that day, SOS.”
Kerri did not act on finding mentor support for two years.
“There was too much in my life. I had surgery and treatments. I felt ill and I had work to complete, children to manage, and life to organize for others.”
She also felt that to join the group so late in her treatment was an opportunity left too long.
“Paula had let me know and others had reached out. I did not respond and then felt time was passed when I would belong. But the Cancer Council included me in one more reach out and it was the lifeline I needed.”
Just as Kerri finished her treatments, she received a call to be a clothing model for the Day of Caring.
“I asked them, ‘Do they know who they called?’” Kerri relates the story with laughter, as she had just finished treatments and is a 40-something mom, and, in her own eyes, not model material.
“But, that’s not what they are about with the Day of Caring. It was such a great experience!”
Your donations make possible the Day of Caring, an annual celebration of breast cancer survivors and awareness of the disease.
Kerri’s Day of Caring experience was an eye-opener to the survivor’s network.
“I was able to be with adults who have been where I have been. I spent my recovery around kids. I love them, but I am the mom. It was so wonderful to be involved in the Day of Caring, to be pampered as we were, but also to connect to other women. It was the right thing at the right time for me. I am so grateful.”
You brought just the right thing to Kerri at just the right time in her journey. Donations are used to make the connection between survivors and in many stages of the journey in breast cancer together.
Kerri has more treatments as she begins the road to a hysterectomy as preventative measure for a future without cancer.
“I know that many of the women involved in the Day of Caring and the SOS group have been where I am going. They will make it less frightening and will be there to talk. That is a gift I can not put a price tag on.”
Your gift gives human contact, which is more important than medicine for us all.