“You have breast cancer…” These are words no one wants to hear, but for 1 in 8 women living in the United States, that heart-wrenching phrase is a reality. For breast cancer patients in central Alabama, supportive and empowering services are just a phone call away.
What does Forge do?
Contacting Forge is just the beginning to building a relationship that helps breast cancer patients, survivors, and their loved ones thrive. When the phone rings at Forge, chances are Client Services Coordinator Janet Dees is the person who answers. Janet works individually with each client to ensure Forge provides assistance with any obstacle that may get in the way of healing. Sometimes, this even means getting a bit creative, because what one person needs may be completely different from the next person who calls. This is why we are proud to have built a network of resources across central Alabama to tackle some of the problems cancer may throw your way, including:
- Cancer Care Bags: We know that receiving a cancer diagnosis may be a huge shock, which is why we offer you a bag full of items to make life a little easier including: a notebook and pen to take notes during doctor’s visits, a mask and hand sanitizer, tissues, mints, and information so that when you’re ready to take the first step with Forge, you have all the information at your fingertips.
- Individualized Care Plan: No two cancer experiences are alike, and Forge wants to make sure that we work together to serve you! Our intake process gives you a chance to share exactly what’s on your mind, and even those things you didn’t know were of concern, so that the recommendations and resources we offer are just what you need.
- Transportation Resources: Safely getting to appointments with your medical team is critical, and Forge wants to ensure that this is not a barrier to your healing. Forge offers gas cards and assistance in securing transportation to get to appointments.
- Professional Mental Health Counseling: Breast cancer is challenging and there are lots of emotions that come with a diagnosis. When you contact Forge, it may be that speaking with a trained professional counselor can help you thrive. Forge partners with Oasis Counseling for Women and Children to offer free, professional counseling for survivors and co-survivors (including your children).
- Mentors and Advocates: Often, talking to someone who has been in your shoes can be a great benefit. Forge has a wonderful team of volunteer peer mentors and advocates who are trained and compassionate breast cancer survivors or co-survivors. This could be someone to text or talk with on the phone, or even an advocate to attend doctor’s appointments with you. This relationship is uniquely yours.
- Wellness Education and Classes: Every month, you can find opportunities for yoga, meditation, nutrition information, and connection. Whether on a yoga mat, or in the kitchen trying out a new recipe, Forge is a place where you can be in community with others who understand.
Recently, Janet shared,
In one of my first few weeks on the job, we had a caregiver call us in desperate need. Her family member was nearing the final stages of her life’s journey due to the late stages of the disease. Her family was in need of a few basic necessities, including items like wipes and disposable bed protectors, to make the days a bit easier. Unfortunately, there were simply not enough resources in their budget to buy these items. Immediately, I went to work using Forge’s network of resources and connections throughout the community and we were able to provide a package of items to support this breast cancer survivor and her family.
Now that her loved one has passed, Janet is still in contact with the client’s sister, providing a referral to Oasis Counseling, for free professional counseling support. As part of Forge’s commitment to serve survivors and co-survivors from the day of diagnosis through the balance of life, that means that we are here for you as long as you need us. And for your loved ones, too.
Forge Survivorship Center supports and empowers breast cancer survivors and co-survivors from the day of diagnosis through the balance of life. A unique collaboration with the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and the four major healthcare systems in central Alabama—Brookwood Baptist Health, Grandview, St. Vincent’s, and UAB—Forge offers strength through help in creating a survivorship plan as well as mentors to listen and care; provides resources such as health and wellness classes, mental health counseling assistance, and transportation resources; and works to build a community of survivors to Forge a new future together.