Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Moving Meditation

This entry was submitted by LBBC staff member Stacia Weaver:

Jeanne Egan vicariously lived through her grandmother’s diagnosis of breast cancer. After finding three benign tumors, the dreaded fear of being diagnosed with breast cancer had somehow become a reality. In October of 2007, Jeanne had a bilateral mastectomy which revealed that she had a 1.6 cm malignant tumor.

“I always had a fear of cancer. I always thought I would get it. It was just a part of my story,” said Jeanne.

Jeanne attended the 8th Annual Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer event. She joined over 1,000 people as they all joined together on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to support women affected by breast cancer. But Jeanne’s presence at the event was even more significant when she learned that she was the top individual fundraiser, raising over $2,000 for LBBC’s education and support programs. It was the first year that Jeanne participated in the event and accounts the benefits of yoga to helping her heal, cope and find peace, grace and divinity.

“When I do yoga [the instructors] talk about grace. They tell you ‘you’re one with the divine. The divine is within you and there, you will have grace.’ Yoga is a moving meditation. It keeps you in the present. You’re so aware of everything in your body,” said Jeanne as she admits that she’s not afraid of recurrence. “Yoga is a big part of it,” she says.

Participating in an outdoor yoga class would have been a “no, no” for Jeanne when she first finished treatment after her 2007 diagnosis. Jeanne admits that she felt so intimated by yoga that she practiced at home with a beginner’s yoga work-out tape for about a year. However, now Jeanne practices yoga three to four times a week and admits that she can even do the advanced classes.

“Whether you’re taking a yoga class on the Art Museum steps or a yoga studio, you’re trying to achieve being one with the universe. Yoga is where I find peace,” said Jeanne.

But Jeanne also finds peace in her female support system that helped her during her breast cancer diagnosis. Jeanne’s blog, Sisterhood and Survival: A Breast Cancer Blog, is a reflection of the bond of women and the power of the female connection. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Jeanne credits her significant relationship with her women friends with helping her get through the tragic time. Her blog is a symbol that represents that “women help each other get through crisis and happy times as well.”

“The illness has changed my family,” says Jeanne, mother of two. “It was very difficult for my son. It didn’t change our relationship, but more so, our lives,” she says as she acknowledges the very women were able to step in and take action for her family during this traumatic experience. “My women friends were a web of caring, a safety net that lifted me up. We [my family] got here because of my women friends, my sisters.”

One of her ‘sisters’ attended the event with her. Jeanne and her team, “Sisterhood and Survival,” were deeply moved by master yoga instructor, Jennifer Schelter’s performance. “When Jennifer talked about love and grieving and that connection, we were crying. It’s so true. We grieve because we love. This event resonates to breast cancer survivors’ lives, recovery, and living beyond breast cancer.”

“This event is a movement,” she ends.

Did you attened LBBC's 8th Annual Yoga Unites for LBBC and you want to share your experience? Email Remember, it's not too late to donate. Visit

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