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You’ve Got A Friend (Or Several)

Friends After Diagnosis brings people touched by cancer together

A kneeling Lin links hands with Darlene Davis, Special Equestrians of the Treasure Coast lead instructor for the Ride Beyond Diagnosis program.

A kneeling Lin links hands with Darlene Davis, Special Equestrians of the Treasure Coast lead instructor for the Ride Beyond Diagnosis program.

Seven years ago Lin Reading, Sylvia Swanson and Fran Basso were strangers. Breast cancer changed that. Today the three survivors not only know each other well, they know a great deal about the disease that introduced them, thanks to Friends After Diagnosis, a nonprofit organization that enhances the lives of those touched by breast and other women’s cancers through support meetings, education, wellness programming and celebration. Men, too, are welcome, whether they are supporting a loved one or are breast cancer survivors themselves.

“Cancer can be really scary,” says Lin. “I worry about women who are alone. They go to an appointment with their doctor who can take care of their medical needs, but there are emotional needs as well. We make a point of being positive and talking about hope. I tell survivors you have a lot of life left in you, and you need to come to our meetings, join with us and learn how to thrive.” 

And thrive is the operative word. When Lin’s mother’s breast cancer returned for a third time, she searched for a local support group. Finding none, Lin reached out to a handful of survivors she knew. At about the same time, Fran and another woman dealing with cancer-related challenges had begun their own small support group.

Lin and Fran were meant to meet, and once they did, they decided to combine efforts and form one group. They named it Friends After Diagnosis, and Lin became founder, facilitator and head cheerleader.