Good Afternoon FRIENDS —
As we kick off the Francine’s Friends virtual campaign, I wanted to reach out to you to tell you that the coach has been busier than ever in recent months and has found ways to adapt during the COVID pandemic. While we had to shut down due to safety in April and May, we were back doing screenings six days a week as of June 1st. Despite having to cancel this year’s lunch with friends, we can still come together to support this amazing program that has helped thousands of women over the last 15 years receive a lifesaving screening.
On a personal note, I can share that it was seven years ago that my friend Barb A’Hearn invited me to my first Francine’s Friends Luncheon. What was ironic was that exactly a year later on October 21st, 2014, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. In just a year, what was deemed as dense tissue at last year’s mammogram, had become cancerous. With two siblings having had cancer at age 20 and at age 45, I was hit especially hard by the diagnosis. Together, with friends, I would get through it. Barb was there at my appointments knowing from experience as a two time breast cancer survivor that I would need an advocate and a friend by my side. She agreed to go with me to doctor’s appointments, share her experiences and even stayed with me for an additional surgery which she insisted no one but Dr. “I-pod” perform. Through four rounds of chemo and four surgeries to follow, I would find that inner strength to keep fighting and would now enter post treatment life. I both loved and hated my new very short hair, and would now focus on preventing a reoccurrence and reflecting on the lessons learned during this journey.
What I can share is that friends are what gets us through breast cancer. Since my diagnosis, I have had four close friends be diagnosed at various stages. My friend Ann, who was told she had no risk, at age 45 would end up being diagnosed in stage 2. Over the last three years she would have eight reconstructive surgeries. I was there for each one of them because that is what girlfriends do. While we struggle to understand why one in eight of us will be diagnosed, all I know is that we all play it forward by sharing information and helping guide the way for friends with so many questions. What I learned from Barb, I passed on to friends like Ann. Together, we made life better for each other and together, those of us who find it important to advocate for others, will make a lifesaving impact on women who need mammograms, but face barriers to receiving their annual screening.
How can you help support Francine’s Friends this year as you have in the past?
Use the Parkview Foundation peer to peer fundraising link:
Use your Facebook page using this link and create your own fundraiser to share with your friends. https://justgiving.com/campaign/FrancinesFriends2020
Share this link with your circle of influence and show your support:
Last week, the first of three emails sharing the impact of the coach went out. This week’s email will share the courageous story of Vicki Torres so look for that on Thursday. All emails will not only share the impact, but provide an opportunity to give through a donate button.
Marita Dwight Smith, Executive Director of Francine's Friends, will be hosting a Zoom call on October 29th at 6 p.m. so that we can connect with this long-time group of friends and hear how COVID has impacted screenings region wide.
If you would like to join us, please email me and let me know and I will send you the link.
Looking forward to connecting with each of you.
Cheers to FRIENDS!
Director of Leadership Gifts
Parkview Cancer Institute
10622 Parkview Plaza Drive | Fort Wayne, IN | 46845
Office: 11050 Parkview Circle Drive I Fort Wayne, IN I 46845
Office (260) 266-6618 | Cell (260) 450-5214 | Fax (260) 266-7799