News

Breast cancer advocacy group looking to help in Kitsap County

By CHARLIE BERMANT

Kitsap County writer

A breast cancer advocacy group is moving forward to establish a Kitsap County presence, recruiting volunteers to help those who have been recently diagnosed with the disease.

“We are looking for breast cancer survivors who can mentor those who have just learned about their own illness,” said Billi Guernsey, who is helping the Angel Care Breast Cancer Foundation establish a local presence. “Volunteers will be able to give back, taking new patients to doctors’ appointments and helping them through the process.”

Angel Care Executive Director Shirley Renfrow noted that no breast cancer patient is ever cured. However, the most effective volunteers are not fighting the disease at the present time.

“We want to give people who have just been diagnosed a sense of hope,” Renfrow said. “So they know that it’s possible to go through this disease and come through the other side.”

The relationship between a volunteer is personal, confidential and on a one-on-one basis, although some volunteers help several patients at a time. Because both may be working, the relationship has a flexibility missing in a scheduled format.

“In this situation, the traditional support groups don’t work,” Renfrow said. “When you have a job and a series of doctors’ appointments, the last thing you want is another regular meeting.”

Angel Care has employed what has become a time-honored fund-raising tool, a calendar with a tastefully naked person pictured for each month. Here, it’s middle-aged cancer survivors.

“The calendar has two purposes,” Renfrow said. “It is a fund-raiser, because we do not have a large budget or the corporate support of the larger organizations. And it lets people know we are here.”

Calendars are $15 plus $2.50 for shipping and are available at www.angelcarefoundation.org.

To volunteer, contact Renfrow at (206) 417-3484 or angelcare@angelcarefoundation.org.

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