Initially, the Lean on Me Breast Cancer Network Inc. was established as a non-profit organization in May of 2000 by Dr. Dwight De Risi, Donna De Risi, Sharon Pape, retired, Ursula Thall, retired, and the late Gerry Accord. Our goal is to provide one on one support for women and men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer by pairing them with volunteer survivors from among the patients of each individual’s practice. We now have three chapters.
To date, the Lean on Me peer support program has trained over eighty volunteers and has helped thousands of patients, both women and men. Since its inception, the Lean on Me Breast Cancer Network Inc. has expanded its programs and services and now includes several forums for education and support. The network presently sponsors a weekly patient support group with a licensed social worker Donna Donatelli and Donna Galgano, S.N.P., who will be overseeing a new program with workshops and guest medical professional speakers. This program will be held three times this year for three consecutive weeks.
We also have a group therapy session every third Thursday of the month from January to May and September to December with a licensed social worker.
We also hold a seminar “Breast Cancer Updates” at the Roslyn Claremont Hotel, sponsored by The Sass Foundation for Medical Research, which consists of a panel of doctors who are specialists in their field and they answer questions from patients and their families.
We provide patient information kit necessity bags made available by a grant from The Beth C. Tortolani Foundation, as well as wigs, and post-surgical bras and fittings.
We had our Tenth Summer Serenity Wellness Seminar at Our Lady of Grace Retreat House, sponsored by The Manhasset Women’s Coalition Against Breast Cancer.
We have our annual 5K Walk and Talk at Bethpage State Park on April 9, 2016 sponsored by Mark Illan Silberman, M.D, (The Plastic Surgery Group), ARC Radiation Centers of New York, nybra.com New York Breast Reconstruction Alliance, (Aesthetic Plastic Surgery PC), and Marc L. Citron, MD, Genomic Health, & Myriad Genetic Laboratories Inc. and Sky Biologics.
We hold a seminar, “Highlights from the Miami Breast Cancer Meeting,” also at the Roslyn Claremont Hotel, also sponsored by The Sass Foundation for Medical Research. It consists of a panel of specialists in their field who present the newest and latest information from the breast cancer meeting followed by a question and answer session for patients.
We have serviced more than 350 patients and their families this past year through all of the programs we have in existence to date. All of these services and programs are funded by donations from professionals and very generous colleagues, patients, family, and friends.
Lean on Me Breast Cancer Network Inc. has been designed to provide patients and their families with access to a comprehensive set of resources, free of charge, in order to manage their diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. We all know all too well there is much more “in between” those three words so our hope is to positively impact the overall quality of life of each individual patient as well. We continue to work towards that goal and are grateful for the support of other organizations, especially The Beth C. Tortolani Foundation, ProHEALTHcare Associates, and the Kleinkramer family (Bessemer Trust).