resident Kathleen Michel struggled with the fact she had breast cancer earlier
this year. Up until the day before her double mastectomy,
she was unwilling to say the words “I have cancer.” Now, after having completed
all her treatments, the 68-year-old is speaking out to let other women to know
help is available and doing her part to raise funds in Support Connection’s 19th
Annual Support-A-Walk for Breast and Ovarian Cancer.
On February 27th, the day before her surgery, Michel called Support Connection and spoke to Marlene, a peer counselor. Her daughter Joanne gave her the number a month before she gathered the courage to call. Michel waited until Ken, her husband, left to run errands before making the call. All of the peer counselors on Support Connection’s staff are cancer survivors themselves.
“It was very hard for me to say those words ‘I have breast cancer’ but my counselor Marlene put me at ease,” says Michel. “She shared her own experiences, and she just let me talk and cry. We talked for an hour. She was a godsend. She helped me express my fears, helped me know what to expect in my surgery. She made me feel comfortable.”
Michel said speaking with the peer counselor strengthened and prepared her.
“I will always remember what Marlene said to me,” said Michel. “She told me all of this will pass and one day you’ll look back and say ‘I did this!’ and you will feel good again. She was right.”
Michel has raised $600 of her $1,000 goal for the Support-A-Walk on Sunday, Oct. 6 at FDR State Park in Yorktown Heights. She set up a page for people to contribute to her team, “Kathy’s Pride,” at https://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/KathleenMichel/walk2013
Family members joining her on the three-mile walk include her husband, daughter Joanne Amorese from Connecticut, son Joseph and his girlfriend from Pennsylvania and sister-in-law Marge Moore from New Jersey.
Michel said she wants others to have the same positive support she did.
“I want to do what I can to contribute to Support Connection’s programs, because for six months I felt so secure to pick up the phone to talk with Marlene – she walked me through a bilateral mastectomy, chemo, helped me through all of my fears,” she explained. “She walked me through everything. I want to do the Support-A-Walk to give back and to be a part of it.”
The Support-A-Walk was founded 19 years ago by local residents to bring attention to the needs of people affected by breast and ovarian cancer. Proceeds fund Support Connection’s free emotional, social and educational support services and programs for to women, their families and friends affected by breast and ovarian cancer. To learn more about Support Connection’s services, and to register for or donate to the Support-A-Walk, visit www.supportconnection.org or call 914-962-6402.