Courage, Community, and Global Compassion
We’re just about certain that the Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC), a service of YWCA Princeton in Princeton, New Jersey, is one of the most active and helpful support centers in the country. Led by its director, survivor Paula Flory, the center provides more than a few services for women, including:
- Support group meetings
- Wig and prosthesis Boutique
- Pilates, Yoga, Zumba and other fitness classes
- Outreach education in nearby communities
- Annual "In the Pink" Fashion Show & Benefit
- "Eat Better, Live Better" programs
- Survivorship retreats
….and this is the short list! So it’s no surprise that, when presented with the opportunity to take their compassion and energy outside their comfort zone, and into the world — India, to be exact — Paula and her colleagues jumped at the chance.
"My mission to empower breast cancer survivors across the world in India began nearly one year ago when I learned about my 'Pink Sister' Rosily, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer," she recalls. "Despite it being an early stage diagnosis, she felt hopeless and afraid. Without hearing her doctors tell her that she would in fact, with the right treatment, survive and thrive, she became depressed and stopped participating in life in her usual vibrant way. She also felt ashamed of her bald head and her unfeminine form."
Connections were established, and BCRC made the journey to hospitals, medical centers and churches around Kerala, India in October, 2015, along with a cargo load of 250 breast forms which Amoena was honored to donate. "It was enormously powerful to learn that, although many of these women lead very different lives than we do in the U.S., their needs and feelings regarding breast cancer and how it feels to lose one's breasts are exactly the same," Paula shares.