Meet some of our BOLD patients and family members through their testimonials and letters of how the BOLD Program helped them not only cope with cancer, but thrive, grow and enhance their quality of life and relationships. Our BOLD participants are diverse in culture, language, disease, and treatment background and likewise, in their supportive care needs, so all services and programs are developed upon ongoing assessment of patients’ interests and needs.
From Marcia on "Mother's Day Wishes" 2015
To My Bold Buddies Staff, Buddies and Friends, Grace and Peace to you all. Happy Mother's Day to you all. I am appreciative, humbled, grateful and honored to be called a " Buddy " and shown love and kindness by this unexpected greeting!
Thank you very much. May your Mother's Day be as grand, healthy, blessed, lovely, and joyous as you all continue to show us how much we are loved, cared for, needed, and valued. It is moments like these that create vitality, hope, faith, confidence and the endurance to serve others as well as ourselves.
Actions like these give us an expectancy of a new breath, fresh wind and dawning to look forward to serving others and bring a newness of life to every opportunity, journey and moment.
Have a beautiful, blessed and wonderful life with plenty of laughter and Smiles!
Your Indescribably Blessed Bold Buddy,
Ms. Marcia P.
Dolores N. is a 69 year old woman diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
“When my doctor told me I had breast cancer I made a claim to victory that I was going to do whatever it took to get through it and serve God better than I ever had before. After chemotherapy and surgery I was ordained an Elder at my church which pushed me even farther into wanting to give back to others and fill this void I had been feeling in my life. Afterwards, I started radiation treatment.
One day I came across a BOLD flyer in the radiation clinic. I saw they had crochet and I went for it. I didn’t know how to crochet and the ladies there were patient with me and taught me. Soon I was slowly filling that void because I had people there who I was able to relate to and we were able to talk and lend support to each other. After a while we became the Chain Gang. This group of ladies kept me from feeling depressed. I found other enjoyment when we went to the neonatal clinics and chemo suites to give out blankets we’d crocheted. Doing this for me was my way of giving back to those in need especially when we went to the chemo suites because I knew firsthand what the patients were going through. Chemo is no joke. You get the chills and handing out our blankets brought us that much closer to one another. I must say the Crochet group, the Chain Gang, spreads love throughout the universe and every chain that is put [in a blanket] is a chain of love and it connects all of us together.”
The Director of the BOLD Program, Dr. Alyson Moadel- Robblee is an absolute jewel and gem. She has brought not only awareness but also a joy to the community who felt that they had to face this disease alone. This program helped build great friendships and has provided a sense of word-of-mouth that has brought in more to the program. The staff is incredible; the things we share with one another and the communication is wonderful.”
BOLD Buddy Judy's Story
Judy came to United States from her native Dominican Republic a few months prior to receiving her breast cancer diagnosis in 2011. She went through difficult moments throughout the journey but has always kept a smile and laugh to accompany her along the way. Judy is a committed BOLD Buddy and member of the BOLD Spanish support group who often accompanies and encourages newly diagnosed patients to join the group. She can be found supporting various women, mostly our Spanish-speaking patients, several times per week at the clinic.
When asked why she volunteers, Judy shared,
"Al ver como yo quede después del cancer, como me sentía bien, pensé que era la mejor manera de dar testimonio a mi experiencia, que no fue nada facil. Siempre les digo a los pacientes que esta experiencia es mejor compartirla con otra persona. Hay que ofercer el apoyo como sea, con presencia o por teléfono, no importa cómo.
"Seeing how I felt after the cancer, which was pretty good, I thought volunteering was the best way to bear witness to my experience, which was not always easy. I always tell patients that this experience is best shared with someone else. We must offer our support, in person or by phone, no matter how."
Judy really enjoys her time with her BOLD Buddy patient match, Nancy. Judy shared these words:
"Tenemos muy buena comunicacion. Hay quimica, nos llevamos muy bien. Me alegra mucho ser una voluntaria con personas como Nancy…..siempre es un agrado."
"We have very good communication, and mutual chemistry, we get along great. I am very happy to be a volunteer with people like Nancy...it is always a pleasure."
There's no doubt, Judy's energy and care for volunteering is infectious and admirable.
Seated to the left: Patient Nancy Pagan; Standing to the right BOLD Buddy Judy
Frank H. is a 63 year old man of Puerto Rican heritage diagnosed with Lung Cancer.
When I was first diagnosed with this disease I was scared because I never was a sickly person before. I had to face the three biggest changes in my life: (1) I have cancer. (2) Undergoing the removal of part of my lung, and (3) I was no longer able to perform at my job. My doctor introduced me to the BOLD Program and from there I started seeing one of their counselors.
The counselors helped me deal with these changes in my life. They were like true friends. They passed no judgment and provided me with a positive outlook and opinion on my situation. I was scared of surgery and they, along with my doctors answered questions and concerns I had and then some. They were so thoughtful. From there I had to face chemotherapy and the staff there was great because they are genuine.
Afterwards I joined many of the BOLD wellness workshops including the Spanish Support group. The counselors who facilitate the group were like guidelines of a book and as a group we were able to exchange and express ourselves more freely. Other programs like the Creative Writing Workshop also helped me get in touch with myself and the Gentle Yoga helped me overcome the physical difficulties I developed after being inactive for a long time. This program helps you set your own starting point and allows you to go at your own pace. From this program I can say that I have learned to let go and not bottle up things like I used to.
The BOLD staff is very accommodating and helpful. When you call there is always someone on the other end of the phone. I hope the BOLD Program can be implemented in other hospitals across the nation because everyone from the doctors on down work together in building a positive outcome for all their patients. One hand washes the other and together they wash the face.
Sonia C. is a 65 year old West Indian woman who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012 and is currently being treated with a new round of chemotherapy. A diagnosis of lung cancer came as a complete shock to Sonia in August of 2012. She was "doing all the right things" such as being active and eating a healthy diet and she had never smoked, yet now was faced with her cancer diagnosis. She became very angry, totally confused thinking "why me?" She was trapped in her own "pity party." Understanding her diagnosis and learning to cope with it and the subsequent changes to her life were her greatest challenges.
At first Sonia was very skeptical about trying counseling and participating in any groups thinking "no one could fix her world." She met another patient at one of her treatments who recommended that she join the BOLD Mind-Body Group for support. Even though skeptical, she started coming to the group and once she started she wanted to try as many programs as she could! Sonia told the BOLD Program assistants, "Sign me up for everything!"
Every facet of the BOLD Living Program in which Sonia participates, has helped improve her well-being. With counseling, she has been able to explore her life, and learn to cope with the uncertainty of cancer and find her strength. She especially loves the mind-body focus of the program from the yoga classes she attends to the meditation and reiki healing groups. They take her mind off problems and help her relax. The group members know firsthand what their fellow members are going through and find it very comforting to be in the groups. The facilitators are also wonderful and take great care of group members. Sonia says, "Keep the programs coming! They do wonderful things for patients. [without the BOLD Program]...you would be locked in your house, you will be depressed and have no outreach. It's life-changing and coming to the program will get you results." "It's a blessing that we can have BOLD go on forever, you can even take a break and come back, the program is there for you. My enthusiasm hasn't waned and when you care, you share!"
Linda F. - 3 year breast cancer survivor - Bronx
Three years ago I felt a rice sized lump in my upper breast just below the clavicle. I never thought it would be Breast Cancer, it really wasn't IN the breast. I am a physical education teacher and live a healthy life style, "it couldn't be Breast Cancer," I said to the Dr. after I was diagnosed. My world stood still. I was numb with the diagnoses. I put on such a brave face to family and friends when I shared the news, when in fact, I was crying myself to sleep. I cried for days behind closed doors and hid my fears from my loved ones.
Then I woke up one morning with such a powerful extraordinary warrior attitude that I will indeed, with the help of my faith, fight this with all my power. That's when I became an advocate for my body, the teacher in me found it empowering to research my diagnoses and find out all my options. I choose to ask the Dr for the BRAC test (the Gene test) and ONCA test (probability of reoccurrence) I also stayed up for HOURS on the computer to find out all my options, alternatives and educate myself against Breast Cancer. The right decision, for ME, was to do a double mastectomy with instant reconstruction, with silicone implants. That was the easiest part of Breast Cancer (5 hour surgery) learning to live with it after the surgery was the hard part. Post traumatic syndrome every time I have a Dr visit or the side effects of Tomoxifen was my next battle. One stage at a time was my motto.
Then I saw the flyer in my Dr office for the BOLD programs and took advantage of the psychology they offered. They also offer wonderful FREE workshops and Yankee tickets to their members. I still have the nervous anxiety when going to Dr. visits however, I know I have the support from my wonderful family, friends and the BOLD program. My advise is to take advantage of the wonderful extraordinary help others are willing to offer you..this fight against Breast Cancer can not be won alone, be an advocate for your body, educate yourself with your diagnoses and seek the support of loved ones and the BOLD program.
Arlene R. is a 48 year old Hispanic woman who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2012. The most difficult part about having cancer was the oncologist telling me. I had undergone radiation, chemotherapy and internal radiation. I had lost my mom in 2010 and dad in 2012 to cancer. My diagnosis just added more extreme grief and despair. While at radiation, a nurse gave me the number to the Psychosocial Oncology Program. I started off by going to counseling. I found that it provided me with emotional support and an empowerment of self. I was able to feel, and it helped me work through feelings of grief and to cope with anxiety and depression.
I have been attending the BOLD reiki workshop for a year now and I found it to strengthen relationships with others. The healing energy of Reiki helped relieve stress. I got the overall benefit of healing of self spiritually as well as moving on with my faith and courage.
I would want people to know it is true what Dr. Alyson Moadel-Robblee says, "When you get diagnosed [with cancer] you feel like you're on an island by yourself." The Psychosocial Oncology Program provides such an emotional support system. This program has been a positive experience for me especially when helping me deal with my feelings of being overwhelmed and hopeless.