Rachel Weinberg: Making an Impact on the Breast Cancer Community One Match at a Time
August 19, 2022
As an ABCD Mentor and the co-chair of the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse Fashion Show, Rachel Weinberg is highly engaged in the breast cancer community.
And while she is just 46 years old, her involvement dates back over 30 years.
When she was in high school, a friend’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 30s, so Rachel participated in a breast cancer walk with her friend and her friend’s mom each Mother’s Day.
“I just loved doing it and loved being a part of it,” she says. Although, back then, Rachel probably never imagined that she would one day have to face her own breast cancer diagnosis at a similar early age.
When Rachel was diagnosed at 37, her friend’s mother was among the first to reach out – and she told Rachel about ABCD.
“That kind of put a bug in my ear,” she said, but because she felt like she had a really great support system, she didn’t end up reaching out to the organization.
However, during her journey with the disease, she did let a friend put her in touch with another woman who had breast cancer; but, she says, it didn’t go well.
“It was a horrible conversation. [The woman] basically was like, ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about’ when I started telling her about my diagnosis and it was just not a good conversation,” she says
“It was like a commercial for ABCD’s services and why they are so important,” she recalled with a laugh.
Looking back on that experience, Rachel admits that if she had reached out to ABCD instead, things would have gone a lot smoother with the benefits of ABCD’s highly-refined Mentor training program and the organization’s Match Specialists, who carefully pair Mentors with Participants based on diagnosis, treatment and other personal information.
“When you get a breast cancer diagnosis, I think you instantly feel like you’re on an island and you’re just by yourself and no one understands how you feel. And it’s just this crazy emotion and it’s really hard to understand,” Rachel says. “
Despite that one interaction, Rachel still felt very supported by family and friends during her treatment, and was ultimately inspired to give back.
“I really wanted to start making positive memories and just connecting with the community more. I felt so supported during my experience with breast cancer and I wanted to give back and help other people feel the way that I did,” she says.
A few years after completing her treatment, Rachel went through ABCD’s Mentor Training program and walked in the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse’s (WBCS) Fashion Show. Shortly thereafter, she also joined the WBCS committee.
Fast forward a few more years after that and today, just nine years after her own diagnosis, Rachel has touched the lives of countless members of the breast cancer community. Despite being a busy mom of a 15-year old daughter and 12-year old son, Rachel’s found the time to make 14 matches with ABCD and she’ll also be co-chairing the 2022 WBCS Fashion Show, which will take place in fall.
For her, the work is rewarding and the connections are impactful.
“I have an incredible group of friends and family that were so supportive to me during my treatment, but there’s just a special connection you have with someone who has gone through the same thing as you, who can share with you something that no one else can. And I think that’s why it’s just so important: Because it helps people who feel like their entire world has been turned upside down feel like they are not so alone.”