By Christine Lewis, Founder
Everyone loves getting something for FREE! This is especially true when we’re just wanting a break- – a break from our cancer treatment, and definitely a break from the onslaught of bills that follow. All of the side effects, not to mention the schedule that seems to take over our lives with all of the appointments can require us to develop a new normal, where we have to figure out how to reschedule everything from childcare to household chores. Well, we just might have you covered in some of the categories where you feel like you need a staff. Check out the FREE RESOURCES below that can make your life easier:
While African American women face a lower risk of a breast cancer diagnosis, on the flip side of this blessing is the sad fact that they face a higher risk of mortality from this disease. The mission of the Sisters Network is to increase local and national attention to the devastating impact breast cancer has on this demographic. If you are an African American breast cancer patient you can go to their link through this subheading to find out what programs they have available for you.
Sometimes our breast cancer journey is made easier by literally providing free childcare, taxi services, or housekeeping, and sometimes it’s made easier by helping provide a distraction from the depressing situation we’re in. Look Good, Feel Better is one of the latter resources. You can get FREE MAKEUP for showing up to one of their sessions, but this 2 hour hands-on program also gives you tips for dealing with hair loss and nail issues, as well as how to apply your makeup after losing your eyebrows and eyelashes. They even have tips on clothing to wear after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Don’t feel like getting out (come on, the fresh air will do you good). No? It’s okay. They’ve got you covered there as well providing a virtual program where they’ll give you these tips online through a live seminar.
These made-with-love breast prosthesis are available to any woman who has had a mastectomy or other surgery to the breast in which they feel somewhat deformed. Someone sent these to me when I was in between my skin-sparing mastectomy and first phase of reconstruction, and I have to say that they definitely helped me feel more confident about going about the day out in public.
Another organization that offers free homemade prosthesis is Awesome Breastforms. What is the difference between these two options, you might ask? With Awesome Breastforms you choose if you want to have a prosthesis with or without nipples.
We endure so many blows from breast cancer, but so do the most important people in our lives: our family and closest friends who see what cancer and cancer treatment does to us. This probably delivers the heaviest emotional blow to our children. This is where Camp Kessem has stepped in to help make our lives a littler easier. With Camp Kessem, children of cancer patients get an ENTIRE WEEK of summer camp where they can be around other kids experiencing the same fears and thoughts about their parents. Not only that, but it gives them a chance to just be kids. Just like support groups for us, this camp develops lifelong friendships where others simply “get it,” and it gives our children something to look forward to every year. My kids can’t wait to go this year! There are so many kids that this has touched in a positive way, some who have grown up and wanted to keep Camp Kessem going through volunteering as college-aged camp counselors, and many who donate to this cause as adults. Not only do they offer a yearly summer camp, but many of the chapters also have Family & Friends events throughout the year so these lifelong friendships can be nurtured with meetups before the next camp. Click on this subheading to find out more about Camp Kessem.
There are certain qualifications you must meet but Cancer Care is a non-profit that assists metastatic breast cancer patients with meeting their copays for chemotherapy and other cancer-related treatments. If you don’t qualify, Cancer Care will refer you to other programs that may be able to assist you.
When you’ve been dealt the cancer card, you might as well play your hand. The Cancer Card Exchange literally deals out gift cards upon request to make our lives easier if we need a little relief with things like gas, restaurants, groceries, and more. Founder Emily Thicke Thomas is a cancer survivor who was first diagnosed with oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma in 2007 when she was pregnant with her 4th son. Having had a majority of her care from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston (but not living in Houston), she found herself having to travel quit a bit. Her friends arranged for a gift card to be waiting for her at Pappasito’s upon her first trip. Thank God, she’s a healthy wife and mom to 4 sons today but that simple gesture from her friends was etched in her mind so much that she decided to pay it forward with The Cancer Card Exchange.
YMCA helps many cancer patients take their lives back from cancer. Not only do many of us make staying fit a priority in our lives, but after a mastectomy and similar treatment it can be important to regain our strength and find a “new normal” in our fitness routine. YMCA offers the Livestrong program throughout most of the country, with a 12-week long small group class.
Hey, that’s us! Just as calendars show the passing of days, weeks, years, and lifetimes, we’re all about time. Our main mission is to provide hope and restore confidence in breast cancer survivors but on this glam day, we want to do our best to remind others that our lives are all about celebrating LIFE! It’s no coincidence that the word “present” means the hear and now, because it truly IS a gift. It’s a day for us survivors to remember who we were before cancer tried to steal our lives and to celebrate the warrior we’ve become through our cancer journeys. Our focus is on providing a legacy through pictures for up to 13 breast cancer survivors. As with Leslie’s Week, this glam day is limited to a select group of pink sisters. While we don’t necessarily limit this to stage 4 patients (we like to include women who’ve thrived many years beyond treatment and also celebrate stage 4 patients), we only have up to 13 annual spots open. If you’re selected, you’ll receive FREE makeup and hair styling, as well as a glamour photo session. Our one condition is that you sign a photo release form so your image can be used in our calendar. This should be something to be proud of because we’re reminding others to cherish each day. Our hope is that the general community will be reminded of how precious time is when they see our pictures, and to provide hope to those newly diagnosed. To apply, click on the link in the subheading. Make sure to share your story in the comments of your application. We want to know who YOU, are and we can’t choose more than 13 women. We’ll notify you if you’ve been selected. Please note that we aim to have up to 4 different times of the year that we provide shoots. So we may not reply back right away.
With breast cancer treatment, we not only lose our boobs but many of us lose our hair as well if we have to have chemo. Good Wishes.org has stepped in to make free scarves available for cancer patients so that they can cover their bald heads. As with the wigs that I’ll talk about later with Ebeauty.com, headscarves can add some fun distraction to our lives, with all the various colors and styles.
When you’re busy with chemotherapy the last thing you want to do is think about housekeeping. Yet, at the same time it’s crucial that you keep your house clean in order to protect your immune system while it’s in such a vulnerable state. Cleaning For a Reason is there to pick up the slack so you can focus on the most important priority of your life at this time: eradicating cancer. Check to see if they’re available where you live by clicking on this subheading.
Cancer may take many of us away from our families forever, but it can’t take away the memories that help us live on in our families’ lives so that we can always be with them in some way. Leslie’s Week is exclusively for women with stage 4 breast cancer, and their mission is to enable their families to create memories that outlast cancer. It all started with a collection of vacation homes in the Great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, and it’s expanded to include the 5-star Dollywood DreamMore Resort and a reserved spa day for each stage 4 breast cancer woman who is selected to participate. While they would probably love to make this available to every stage 4 pink sister, they have to provide this cause to a select number of families each year. You can apply by clicking on the link in this subheading. Be sure to check out the video above, our 2020 Miss May was selected to participate in 2019: Mrs. Stephanie Sasser!
Free beach vacation getaways are given to breast cancer patients and their families. As with Pink Warrior Calendar Girls, it’s all about time, and Little Pink Houses of Hope gives that by providing memories that will last well beyond our lives. Not only that, but similar to Camp Kessem proving connections among children of cancer patients, Little Pink Houses of Hope provides lifelong connections to other families dealing with breast cancer. Their mission is to embrace families enduring a breast cancer journey with retreats to help them focus on celebrating life. You can apply as a retreat family by clicking on the subheading above.
I wasn’t so self-conscious of not having hair as I was worried about getting skin cancer on my head when I had nothing to protect it from the Texas sun! I tried scarves, and they did really well for me…until it got too hot for them in the humid Houston heat. I mostly wore baseball caps, but I actually found wigs to be a really fun way to take my mind off of breast cancer (or at least not be so depressed). Some will say wigs are too hot for them. I didn’t think it was much of an issue. Maybe it was the type of wig I had, but I found it no worse than having regular hair. I also had a TON OF FUN trying out hair colors I wasn’t born with. At first, I got a brunette wig, because that was my normal hair color. Upon the insistence of my husband and kids, I also got a blonde wig. I’m glad I let them insist on this, because when I lost my eyelashes and brows the brunette wig looked out of place. When it all comes down to it, it’s a personal preference, and you have to decide what YOU prefer. Where was EBeauty.com when I was doing chemo? They provide FREE WIGS for cancer patients. Not only that, but if one wig isn’t working for you anymore (refer back to what I said earlier about preferring the blonde wig later on) you can send it back and get another. Then, when you’re done with chemotherapy and your hair’s grown back, you can donate your wig to the exchange program they’ve developed and another cancer patient can use it.
Various resources are made available free of charge to anyone affected by breast cancer if they go to bcrc.org. You can check out their website by clicking on the link in the subheading. They’re a great resource of resources throughout your breast cancer journey — from the point of diagnosis to learning a “new normal” after a majority of breast cancer treatment is over.
Here’s a bonus FREEBIE. Click on this link to get our FREE Mini-course. Simply by telling us where to send your FREE Mini-course, you’ll be entered to win the ENTIRE 10-Chapter course. *Calendar is not included in FREE Minicourse or WON full course. If you’re experiencing technical difficulties with the form then you can simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to put “minicourse and entry offer” in the subject line.
When I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in 2015 I wanted my journey with breast cancer to have a purpose. First and foremost, my family was my motivation to fight this disease. I made a lot of lifestyle changes so that I can be around for my family for many years to come, but I also felt inspired to archive my journey so that others could benefit from what I’ve learned and applied.This was why Pink Warrior Calendar Girls was founded.