Take a moment to think of a time you went through something really hard. Now think about how other people entered into the picture. Did you feel alone, or supported in your struggle? What difference did it make?
Most challenges in life are easier to face when we know the people around us have our backs. Friends. Family. Partner. Church. Teammates. Coworkers. It doesn’t matter if we’re getting treatment for cancer or just getting up the nerve for our first mammogram. Knowing we’re loved and supported can make a world of difference.
1. Get on top of your own health.
There’s no better thing you can do to promote breast health than to make sure you’re taking care of yours. Learn how to take charge of your breast health, then share what you know with the people in your life. Doing so shows you respect yourself and those who love you. It also means you can draw from your own experience and knowledge when supporting others.
2. Share and connect.
Help others learn about breast health and breast cancer by sharing your own story or a story that inspires you.
Share your own experience facing breast cancer or supporting a loved one on their journey.
Read and share the stories of survivors and supporters who have posted about their experiences with breast cancer through Susan G. Komen®.
If you’re supporting someone who’s dealing with breast cancer, visit Komen’s family/friend and caregivers message board to connect with others who can relate to what you’re going through.
Raise awareness about the importance of breast health by sharing this campaign with your loved ones and social networks.
3. Be there however you can.
If you know someone who’s dealing with breast cancer–or who’s nervous about getting screened or going to a new doctor–support them in whatever way works for you. Drive them to an appointment, babysit or prepare a meal if you can. Even just sending an encouraging text or calling to see how they are lets them know you’re thinking of them. Your support doesn’t have to be time-consuming, large-scale or heroic to matter.
4. Build or join a support network.
No one should face breast cancer alone. Join or start an affiliate chapter through Sisters Network, or connect with younger breast cancer survivors through the Young Survival Coalition or Stupid Cancer. If someone in your life is facing breast cancer, there are probably family, friends and other people who want to help. Try one of these tools to coordinate efforts and keep everyone updated.
CaringBridge lets you create a free website where friends and family can stay connected and updated on your loved one’s health journey. Users can find ways to help out and leave messages of hope and encouragement.
Lotsa Helping Hands lets you create an online Help Calendar where users can sign up to deliver meals, drive to appointments and provide child care or other practical assistance. Lotsa Helping Hands also connects people who want to volunteer with neighbors who need support.
You can create groups on Facebook or other group chat platforms to share health updates and progress.
5. Become an advocate.
Sign up to be notified of current legislative and advocacy actions that relate to breast cancer. You’ll stay informed about petitions, letter writing campaigns and other ways you can help move the needle on this issue.
6. Get involved locally.
Connect with an affiliate or community organization in your area and join them doing something that feels right to you and meets their needs. You may be able to raise awareness, raise money, host information sessions or support survivors.
7. Support research, education, screening and treatment.
Support the effort to end breast cancer by making a donation or purchasing gifts and educational materials from ShopKomen.com. Eighty percent of all proceeds benefit Susan G. Komen’s efforts to support those with breast cancer and cancer survivors.
Fundraise in honor of a loved one or special occasion.
Join a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® event. The series of 5K runs and fitness walks raises funds and awareness for the breast cancer movement, celebrates breast cancer survivorship and honors those who have lost their battle with the disease.
Whatever you do, it’ll feel great to know you’re taking action. Together we can all make a difference for ourselves, our families, our friends and our communities.