Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Reason to Celebrate

This entry was written by LBBC staff member Stacia Weaver:

Robin Schoen is not comfortable using the term ‘survivor’ and admits that she “didn’t want to be a member of a group of women with breast cancer; who would?” However, she will be taking part, for the first time, in the 8th Annual Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer event. “I’m looking forward to meeting more incredible women and sharing our experiences in support of one another.”  One motivation:  May 16th is Robin’s 54th birthday.  Another, she’s a big believer in the benefits of yoga. Coincidentally, the city of Philadelphia has declared May 16th Living Beyond Breast Cancer Day.

Robin attributes much of her physical strength in coping with the treatment necessitated by her breast cancer diagnosis to the healing benefits of yoga. (She has been practicing yoga for more than 15 years, but has practiced it more consistently since 2007.) “In fact, I think the reason why I recovered so quickly following my surgery was the result of the core strength I developed from my yoga practice,” says Robin, as she describes her recovery from the mastectomy of her right breast and subsequent TRAM flap reconstruction. This surgery uses tissue and muscle mass from the abdomen to replace a removed breast.

Robin isn’t a member of one of the 80 or so teams that were formed in support of the May 16th event. “I’m not a great team player, so I decided to do this on my own,” she says. “I sent two e-mails and made a couple of personal calls, and pretty quickly received tremendous support in the form of very generous donations from my very supportive friends and family members.” To date, she has raised $2,695 for the annual fundraising event – exceeding her $2,500 goal – which will be used to advance LBBC’s work to support women whose lives have been affected by breast cancer and spread awareness of LBBC’s education and support programs.

Robin urges everyone to get involved with campaigns that deal with promoting awareness about the impacts of breast cancer. “Nearly 200,000 new cases of breast cancer are reported annually in the U.S. alone.  The methods for dealing with breast cancer have significant physical and psychological impacts,” she says. “The removal of one’s breast or breasts – unlike, perhaps, the removal of an internal organ -- provokes profound responses and the people affected need and deserve attention.”

This may be what drives Robin to support LBBC rather than organizations focused on finding a cure. “With breast cancer – as with all cancers -- there are so many variables and they’re so specific, that I’m not sure a cure is possible; perhaps better, less invasive and less destructive therapies and treatments – but a cure?  While driving toward these lofty goals, I think it’s important to remember to focus on providing the support needed by those who are living with breast cancer or its terrible impacts so they’re able to live their lives as unimpeded by this disease as possible.”

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