Utah Breast Cancer Support Group

Non-denominational breast cancer support group in Utah for young women in their 20's, 30's and 40's. Friends by Chance. Sisters by Choice.

Young Survivor Sisters is a free, non-denominational breast cancer support group for women living in Utah who are in their 20's, 30's and 40's. We've been supporting each other like sisters since 2003 and welcome your participation. Together We Survive! To join the conversation, please join our Facebook Page

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Celebration of Life Dinner...as told by Erin Gadd

Hello sisters!

I blogged this recently on my family blog and decided I would share it with all of you.  Since, you are after all, my sisters!!

A special thanks to Ginger Johnson and Candace Tatton for the AMAZING Celebration of Life Dinner.  You guys are seriously amazing.  Love you both!  Thanks a million!

Here's my blog entry...

So,  I'm part of the best group ever.  It my breast cancer support group entitled, The Young Survivor Sisters .  It's a group another girl and I started after we were diagnosed with breast cancer 7 years ago.  It's a support group for women diagnosed with breast cancer under age 45.  One in every 8 women will get breast cancer...usually not in their twenties though.  So we're a rare breed. 

When a nurse coordinator put me in touch with another young woman battling breast cancer I felt an immediate connection.  Ginny Nelson ... (Ginny and her hubby)

and I were instant pals the second we started talking on the phone seven years ago.  Then we decided to meet for lunch along with another young survivor, Cheryl Pulsipher. (no relation, but the irony....)  After having lunch together and feeling so relieved to talk to someone about our experiences, challenges and fears, we knew we had something good going.  While I have AWESOME friends and family support, there is something extra special about connecting with another "sister" who has been through the same crap I have.

Ginny and I started meeting other young women at various places and realized what a benefit it was to get together and share stories.  Even if it was just to laugh and sometimes cry, it feels great to have someone who understands.  It proved to be an AWESOME resource for surgeons, doctors, reconstruction options and where to get the best wigs.  Ginny and I kept meeting more and more young women and decided we need to form a group and name ourselves.  We decided that ever since we've met each other, it was like having a sister...hence...Young Survivor Sisters.

Along the way, we met an AMAZING survivor named Ginger.   (Ginger and her hubby)

Ginger saw that keeping the group going was becoming somewhat burdensome on Ginny and I and she stepped in to help out.  Ginger has done AMAZING things for our group.  In the one year since she has been president, our group has gone from around 40 members to almost 80.  She designed these super cute cards to put in doctors offices to advertise our group.

She has worked tirelessly to get the word out.  We knew there were lots of young women out there who needed our group, but just didn't know how to find us.  Ginger has done so much to improve that.  Ginger started a yearly donated dinner entitled, Celebration of Life.  We have a nice dinner, (donated by a generous plastic surgeon Dr. Marge Massey) and enjoy a nice program and each other's company.

This year was AWESOME.  It was overwhelming to see so many faces that I'd never seen before.  Ginny and I were both so taken back that what was a small lunch in a McDonald's 7 years ago, has turned into this!!!  (click image to see larger...oh, if anyone wants a copy of their picture, just email me and I'll send it right over!)

I'm so grateful for the experiences, life lessons, and humility I learned from having cancer.  The experience was forever life-changing.  I feel like the person I am today, is due in large part to the lessons I learned while battling the disease.  Everything from self worth to physical illness and lots of lessons in between.  I grew an unbelievable amount spiritually and my testimony of the gospel has deepened imeasurably.   I know that meeting Ginny was not a lucky happen-stance.  It was a blessing from above.  These amazing young women have changed my life.  I have learned from them, laughed with them, and will forever be their best friends.

If you know a young woman who could benefit from our group, please refer them to our website.  It can make all the difference.
The Young Survivor Sisters


Books Available

Ginny and I (Erin) have collected a bunch of really great breast cancer related books and would love to share them with anyone interested in reading...Just leave a comment here on the blog and we'll arrange getting you the book!

Here's the list:

Finding the “CAN” in Cancer
By Nancy Emerson, Pam Leight, Susan Boonan and Terri Schinazi

Fighting for our future- How Young Women Find Strength, Hope, and Courage While Taking Control of Breast Cancer-
Forward by Ann Curry of the Today Show
By Beth Murphy

Voices of Breast Cancer- The Haling Companion: Stories for Courage, Comfort & Strength
Edited by the Healing Project

Just a Lump in the Road- Reflections of Young Breast Cancer Survivors
By Debbie Leifert, Gina Castronova, Dr. Tamara Brennan, Jackie Ehrilich, Cindy Goldberg, & Donna Palmisciano

Breast Cancer Survivor Fitness Plan
By Carolyn M. Kaelin, M.D., M.P.H.

Facing the Mirror With Cancer- A Guide to using Make-up to Make a Difference
By Lori Ovitz and Joanne Kabak

Breast Cancer Husband-- How to Help your Wife and (Yourself) Through Diagnosis, Treatment, & Beyond
By Marc Silver

First You Cry- The Classic Inspiring Story of One Woman’s Triumph Over Breast Cancer
By Betty Rollin

The Middle Place- A Memoir of Kelly’s battle with breast cancer
By Kelly Corrigan

Crazy, Sexy, Cancer Tips-
By Kris Carr--Forward by Sheryl Crow

Tools & Tips From the Trenches- Heartfelt Advice for Survivors Families & Friends
By Mary Olsen Kelly

Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor’s Soul
By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, & Mary Olsen Kelly

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