Black women

Wherever a woman is in her breast cancer journey – from diagnosis to treatment through survivorship – women gather to talk and support one another. They talk about things they may find easier to talk about among other women who have gone through the same experiences.

On the second Friday evening of each month, Kelly Meade RN, a breast navigator at Christian Hospital, facilitates the Beyond Breast Cancer support group at Northwest HealthCare, 1225 Graham Rd. in Florissant. The next meeting is 7-8:30 p.m. on Friday, May 10.

While she can chime in on the more clinical matters, Meade said, it’s really about the women hearing a perspective of someone else in a very similar situation.

“The women are really leading the group, being able to help each other and talk through situations,” Meade said. “They can be personal, they can be social, they can be very clinical about treatment.”

Each meeting begins with an open forum for discussion or to see if anyone has any immediate needs. The size of the group varies each month as each woman decides how often and how long she participates.

“We have some that come for a few days, and some for a few cycles and never come again because they get through their treatment, or we have some that stay all the way through survivorship,” she said.

Meade will also bring in presenters on topics the women decide upon, such as clinical experts, insurance and finance tips, stress relief and self-care, guided meditation and yoga.

“This past summer they had a retired ballet dancer come and work with them on some very light exercises,” Meade said. “There are a range of activities we can do, and I like to have participant involvement in what those activities are.”

Beyond Breast Cancer is also safe space to open up. And what happens at the support group stays among the support group.

“We maintain the confidentiality of everyone who comes, and it is an open-sharing environment,” Meade said. “We make it a safe environment. There is no judgement. Anything you have to say is treated very seriously and everyone’s there to help, not to hurt.”

For more information about the Beyond Breast Cancer support group, contact breast navigator Kelly Meade at 314-653-5523 or kmm8393@bjc.org.

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