We all know that warm feeling when we feel heard, understood, and emotionally supported by another person. In the aftermath of a breast of gynecologic cancer diagnosis, it can be empowering to connect with someone who has walked this road or a similar one; a person who can listen from a base of shared experience and offer insights gained through that experience.
How does someone facing a new diagnosis gather the information they need to make informed decisions regarding their care? How do they sort through this information to know what’s best for them as an individual? What if they need to maintain a full time job and balance their family responsibilities with good self-care, even as their calendar fills with medical consultations? Or what if they simply need to hear a voice from someone who’s faced a similar situation saying, “I get it. This is hard. I’ll walk with you through this.”
This is what our PALS Mentors offer to those who are recently diagnosed, in treatment, or who have long-term survivorship questions. A mentor provides a compassionate listening ear; they are the voice of someone who has faced daunting circumstances and made their way through.
PALS mentors are not trained therapists (and the few who are step aside from that role when they step into mentoring). They do not offer medical advice; they do listen without judgement and refer people to their care providers when needed. They do not tell their mentees what they “should” do: they do help brainstorm solutions to problems.
If you or someone you know may need the support of a mentor, please email email@example.com. And if you are interested in joining our caring, dynamic group of trained mentors, contact at the same email address.
This story appeared in the Winter 2023 newsletter, Voices of the Ribbon.