Breast Cancer Model, Learning from Adelphi New York Statewide Program
It has been a long while since I have written, but I wanted to share some thoughts I have regarding the potential closing of the Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program. This program has been in place for 28 years. Without a doubt, it has impacted and saved countless lives-more than we will ever know-with care, concern, and compassion. No reasonable person could deny this. How else could they have existed for 28 years?
Here is where I may veer off from what is the norm. I know the state of New York is considering cutting their budget $300,000 and that would, if I understand everything I have read, effectively shut the doors of the Adelphi program. If this were to transpire, it would truly be a sad day for the New York residents who have had the comfort of these amazing people over the years to help guide them through the crisis of breast cancer. According to news reports on the matter, in the past five years, Adelphi's breast cancer hotline has reached approximately 15,000 New Yorkers, with an estimated 81 percent from the metropolitan New York area and 19 percent from upstate New York.
While we all know we are living in times that few of us have ever experienced, I feel pretty confident in saying all of us have felt this ripple in some way shape or form. I know Men Against Breast Cancer has felt it tremendously in our fundraising as well.
I know on the surface this may sound cavalier, but let's focus on what is the positive and what the community can do to keep this program going (I am in NO WAY implying that they are not) until the ship is righted and everyone is fully funded once again. First and foremost, we must believe that will happen. I firmly believe that better days are ahead, maybe not as fast as we would like-but none the less they are coming.
While the expert information that is received by women from other women who are survivors is priceless, the fact that there are other alternatives-such as Cancer Care, the Young Survival Coalition, and the Breast Cancer Network of Strength-that offer similar services should be publicized so folks know that there is something out there. True, it may not be what is perfect, but these options are more than others may have in similar or not so similar situations. There are so many people who will have no one to turn to at all when their state funding is cut as well.
This can be a time of renewal, by pushing for more volunteers and greater fundraising efforts to continue to provide as much as possible. From all that I have read, even a little of what this amazing group of people can provide will make a huge difference. This also does not mean that the efforts with the state to keep the funding going should be stopped-we must always continue to move forward and at the same time seek new partners and opportunities.
This is the time to come together and reach out to all people, forgetting petty differences of ideology, politics, and anything else that prevents us from lending a hand.
As I have quoted before, and it bears repeating, Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see."
This can be viewed as one might view a recurrence of disease-another step in the battle not a defeat.