The New York State Senate recently passed a resolution that awards $300,000 to the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester.
This funding will assist BCCR with its outreach and support services to those impacted by breast cancer in the Wayne-Finger Lakes region.
BCCR is an independent, grassroots organization dedicated to providing educational and support services to survivors living in Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes regions of central and western New York. It provides support to those affected by a breast or gynecologic cancer diagnosis, makes access to information and care a priority through education and advocacy and empowers women and men to participate fully in decisions relating to their cancer diagnosis.
“The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester continues to expand its outreach and services to more survivors and more rural communities, where access to critical information and services is often lacking,” said State Sen. Pam Helming, R-54th District. “I am grateful to Executive Director Holly Anderson and her team for being such fierce advocates. I am proud to have worked with the BCCR team over the last six months to secure this vital funding. Thanks to our collaborative efforts, we were able to successfully secure additional funding this year to help the coalition build on the progress they have made over the last couple of years.”
“We offer sincere gratitude to Sen. Helming and our State Senate delegation for securing these funds on behalf of those who are living in the aftermath of breast cancer right here in our region of upstate New York,” Anderson said. “This funding ensures that we will be able to continue our support services and educational programming for breast and gynecologic cancer survivors throughout the region who will no longer need to travel to our largest cities for programs and seminars. Healing arts programs, such as Gentle Yoga and Mindfulness and Meditation, as well as educational evening seminars, make a tremendous difference in the lives of so many.”
As the only full-scope community-based breast cancer organization between Albany and Buffalo, the coalition serves 10 Senate districts and 10 counties: Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates.
This funding will help BCCR serve more regional survivors. Over 15,000 women and 150 men in the state are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. In recent years, BCCR held dozens of events, workshops and classes outside of Monroe County, including counties in the Wayne-Finger Lakes region. These include informational seminars for former cancer patients and their families, gentle yoga classes designed to ease physical and psychological symptoms and programs designed to reduce the severity of fatigue, which is one of the long-term effects reported by cancer patients after surgery. Many programs are open only to former cancer patients, offering a place to interact with one another and strengthen bonds.
Increased awareness of BCCR and its programs enabled the coalition to better engage former breast and gynecologic patients to participate in its annual Peer Advocates Lending Support mentorship training. As those diagnosed with breast or gynecologic cancer come to the coalition for support, trained PALS mentors provide a foundation of caring through one-to-one contact, helping them connect to necessary resources and instilling confidence in the face of a difficult situation. There is a need to increase the number of PALS mentors throughout the region so that mentor-mentee connections can be closer to home. As procedures and treatments evolve, newer peer mentors with more recent diagnoses might be a better match for new mentees entering the program.