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Survivors Helping Survivors
About the Program
Mission: Provide one-on-one support to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients through a peer support program.
Vision: One day all survivors will provide help for someone else who is newly-diagnosed, no matter what stage of their disease.
Values: A survivor volunteer may be a vision of hope, even for those with stage IV metastatic breast cancer.
Beliefs: There are elements of psychosocial support that may only be fulfilled by someone who has “walked the walk” and “talked the talk”.
Goals: Provide one-on-one support to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients through a peer support program.
Format: 1:1; on-site support during biopsy and imaging procedures; two overnight metastatic retreats per year are also offered
Setting: health care setting, via email, cell phone, or in person off-site
People served: newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with any stage of breast cancer
Program location: virtual and within breast center in Baltimore, MD
Estimated number served: offered to 700+ annually.
People in the Program
23 survivor volunteers; two nurse navigators for oversight, training, mentoring and tracking.
Recruitment and selection: Volunteers are often program participants who express interest in helping others and giving back to the program.
Training: On-site volunteers must shadow a seasoned volunteer in breast imaging for several visits before being allowed to mentor.
Motivation: Quarterly dinner meetings; regular thanks; feedback.
Sustaining the Program
Key strategies: Volunteers need to feel fulfilled and that they are making a difference in the lives of patients.
Critical support: Breast center leadership, nurse practitioners and breast imaging personnel.
Marketing and communication strategies: Online advertising of our retreats plus word of mouth and feedback from patients.
Quality control: We monitor the number of service hours from each volunteer by collecting their info each month. For monitoring quality, we receive feedback (both good and not so good) from patients served.