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Between Women: Free cancer workshops set for Sunday

February 20, 2001|By DORA DEPAOLI, Staff Writer

Do you want to know what you could do to help a friend or relative diagnosed with cancer?

Free workshops, sponsored by a number of cancer awareness organizations, will take place Sunday at churches in El Centro and Holtville.

Linda Cady of Brawley, a breast cancer survivor, once thought she would never need such information.

"When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I knew God had a plan and that I was going to be OK," Cady said. "Through this I had a very wonderful church family, but some of them didn't know what to say or how to treat me.

"One lady asked if she could come over and clean my house. This woman organized a team of four to seven ladies and they came over to clean my house every three weeks. They usually came over right before my treatments, when I was feeling fairly well."

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Cady's husband, Dennis, welcomed the women with a big container of ice cream on the days they came to clean. Cady said the women thought that was "pretty neat."

Between Women, a local cancer support group, was founded four and a half years ago by Cady. Since then Between Women has become affiliated with Y-Me, a national cancer organization.

"I would never have done anything like this six years ago," Cady said, "but I feel passionate about this."

Between Women Y-Me and other cancer-related agencies are sponsoring English- and Spanish-language workshops Sunday at 11:45 a.m. at First Christian Church in El Centro. Following a brief potluck luncheon, visitors are invited to attend 45-minute workshops of their choice dealing with breast and cervical cancer, prostate cancer and a teen presentation. Cady said most of the information will be "upbeat."

Following the workshops, the visitors will come together for a brief time to learn about the genetics and statistics of the disease, nutrition, physical activity and skin cancer. Workshop visitors will become more aware of the resources in the Valley, Cady said.

The American Cancer Society, Pioneers Health Centers, the state Health Services Department and A Place of Angels will have representatives at the workshops.

At 2 p.m., the team will provide the same workshops at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Holtville.

The board of Between Women Y-Me is made up of cancer survivors or family members of survivors.

Deborah Harrold of El Centro, the group's director of communications, became part of the group when her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"I couldn't help my sister because she was so far away," Harrold said, "so I became a part of the group."

The support group has recently branched out into other areas. In addition to its annual fashion show and luncheon, volunteer Laurie Vandergriff hopes to shortly go into high schools to speak to students.

The Comadre program is another new function of the group. A Spanish-speaking breast cancer survivor takes the program into private homes. In these small-group settings visitors have the opportunity to learn how a cancer lump feels through the use of breast models.

"There are a lot of myths about cancer in the Spanish community, we have been told by the Y-Me Breast Cancer Organization," Cady said.

Because of the interest in Between Women Y-Me the organization now has an office at Pioneers Memorial Hospital on the second floor near the OB-GYN wing. It is staffed weekdays from 1 to 5 p.m. For information about upcoming workshops or the monthly meetings of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients, call 351-1774. The meetings are the first Tuesday of the month.

"We are here to serve women with breast cancer and their families, and help them feel like they are not going through this by themselves," Cady said.

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