FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Support for women battling breast cancer from women who’ve been through it themselves: Sisterhood of Survivors (SOS) in Fresno has been offering that support for years.
SOS also delivers tote bags full of necessities and valuable information designed for women in a battle against breast cancer: lotions and chapstick, as well as a planner to keep track of doctor appointments. For more than a dozen years, the Fresno based organization has been assembling tote bags and delivering them to breast cancer patients to let them know they are not alone.
“Within the first week of diagnosis is when the tote needs to be delivered because a woman is so anxious for information and is scouring the internet,” says board member and survivor Kimberly Bearden.
The Sisterhood was established 17 years ago when now two-time breast cancer survivor Janet Ames was first diagnosed. She met another cancer patient for lunch and others wanted to join them, evolving into a monthly meeting.
“As we evolved, we realized we needed to do something that had a purpose beyond eating and talking. And that’s where the tote program came in,” said Ames.
The Sisterhood received non-profit status in 2010. They receive donations to buy their tote supplies and volunteers assemble them. Hundreds of these gifts of love have been delivered throughout the Central Valley, to hospital rooms, cancer centers, and homes.
“Personally I pray that they feel not alone, and they feel hope because they’re sitting across from someone. Been there, done that and I’m still around,” said Ames.
Many volunteers are survivors themselves. As they share the tote, they share their story.
“It’s such a great way to fight back against cancer and kind of wipe away all of the bad energy that cancer puts in our lives,” said Bearden.
Giving a gift, and receiving something just as valuable in return.
Sisterhood of Survivors is looking for donations and volunteers so they can keep their tote project going. Survivors are also welcome to join them for their monthly lunch. SOS recently moved to a new office space at Maple and Nees in Fresno. For more information about SOS, click here.