Issue 3 Stories
Philanthrophy

Supporting Services That Make a Difference for Breast Cancer Patients

For many years, Susan Webb, a nurse at Albemarle Square Family Healthcare, enjoyed shopping at the annual Martha’s Market, an event hosted by The Women’s Committee (TWC) to raise funds to support breast cancer programs and women’s health care at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital. The Market was a great opportunity for her to find Christmas and birthday gifts, or something special for herself.

But in 2014, the event became personal. Just a few months prior, Webb had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was beginning to experience firsthand the good that Martha’s Market and two other TWC events, the In The Pink Tennis Tournament and Squash Cancer, were doing for women throughout the community.

“Every step of the way along my journey with breast cancer, I received services made possible thanks to generous community support for these great events,” Webb says. “These services definitely helped me get through this difficult experience.”

Webb was at the beach in June 2014 when she received her diagnosis. Her treatment included a double mastectomy and reconstruction, plus chemotherapy and radiation, which were completed in March 2015. Testing confirmed that her type of breast cancer could potentially recur in the ovaries, so Webb also underwent a hysterectomy this spring. She’s had good results and is feeling well.

“I’m so grateful to all of the doctors and nurses who took care of me,” Webb says. “Everybody at Sentara Martha Jefferson was nice, and they all took time to answer my questions. They also supported my husband and daughters. The medical staff has a hard job, but nobody complained—it was obvious that they really care about their patients.”

Throughout her battle with cancer, Webb saw the impact of the community’s support for TWC’s fundraising efforts. When she developed lymphedema after radiation, for example, she was cared for by a lymphedema-certified physical therapist who had received specialized training supported by proceeds from TWC events. In preparation for her double mastectomy, the Sentara Martha Jefferson breast health nurse navigator gave her a postsurgery camisole with prosthesis forms and special compartments for drainage tubes—another item made possible by TWC event proceeds. She also received her “Farrah wig” (as in Farrah Fawcett) at Marianne’s Room, where the cancer resource center nurse also showed her how to tie a scarf around her head.

“Those are small things that make a big difference when you’re going through tough times,” Webb says.

In early 2015, while still undergoing treatments, Webb decided to join TWC. She and her husband, Greg, also have become leadership donors as a Martha’s Market sponsor, in gratitude and support for TWC’s breast health programs and women’s health care initiatives. Next spring, she’ll be speaking about her experiences at the annual TWC meeting.

“I wanted to help make a difference for others,” says Webb, who has been encouraged by meeting so many breast cancer survivors who are fellow volunteers in TWC. “I’m a spiritual person, and I prayed since finding out about the cancer that God would use me where He wanted me. Joining The Women’s Committee seemed like a move in that direction. I am so grateful for all that Sentara Martha Jefferson has done for me. It was a no-brainer that I was going to give back to the hospital to support other breast cancer patients.”

THE WOMEN'S COMMITTEE (TWC)

The Women’s Committee (TWC) hosted the 23rd Martha’s Market, 14th In The Pink Tennis Tournament, and a FLASH Squash Cancer Tournament in 2016. All of these events were tremendously successful, thanks to the winning combination of the community’s generous support and the amazingly talented and dedicated TWC volunteers!

The TWC welcomes new volunteers and encourages those interested to contact the committee’s membership chair at MembershipChairTWC@gmail.com and visit MJHFoundation.org/The-Womens-Committee for more information.

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