Breast cancer before the age of 40 is relatively rare. But it was a stark reality for Nailah Cash O’Bannon and Kathryn Walker, who were diagnosed in their 20s. As they absorbed the shocking news, both women found themselves at the beginning of an unexpected path, in which they would navigate the challenges of treatment, […]
ABCD’s first Latina Mentor, Maria Nieves – a single mother, has lived with breast cancer for the last thirteen years. Her faith in God and ABCD have helped her through the times when the battle was not easy and giving up became her reality.
In June 2016, shortly after Phyllis Eig learned she had breast cancer, her surgeon invited her to a weekly support group for newly diagnosed patients. Days later, Phyllis found herself in a room with other women who, like her, were just starting their breast cancer journeys. Their shocked expressions mirrored her own. As she processed […]
Robin Schwarz was a busy mother of two young children when she learned she had breast cancer. It was 2010, and Robin did not know anyone else who had been diagnosed. Then friends introduced her to another woman who had also faced breast cancer and wanted to offer support. The connection made a lasting impression […]
“Here and now.” That’s what matters most to ABCD Mentor Janice Cowden. She’s a mother, grandmother, and former pediatric nurse who’s also a passionate advocate for the metastatic breast cancer community. Janice was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. Nearly five years later, doctors told her she had developed metastatic breast cancer (MBC) – […]
Harpreet Grewal, who lives in California, called ABCD soon after his wife Kiran was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. After receiving support as a caregiver, he and his family made a very generous first time donation to ABCD in 2021. He shares his story in this short video.
Struggles with how to live your life following a breast cancer diagnosis are very real. In this video Kathryn Walker talks about the immediate bond she felt with her Mentor and how her connection with ABCD was life changing.
When Maureen Luddy told friends about her breast cancer diagnosis, they asked what they could do to help her. Her response was always, “I’m going to be fine. If you want to do something, get a mammogram.” Diagnosed in 2019 after her annual mammogram prompted more testing, Maureen underwent treatment soon thereafter. By the summer […]
ABCD provides holistic care that medical providers cannot offer. Working as a complement to healthcare providers, MSW, Leanne Walz, discusses the value of having someone there who truly understands at this most vulnerable time in the life of someone who is dealing with breast cancer.
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 […]
28 weeks pregnant Jessica Storm was diagnosed with breast cancer. ABCD was able to match her with a Mentor who had been young and pregnant when diagnosed and was now cancer free with a thriving child. During her weakest moments she found comfort with her Mentor because she really understood.
Elise Haschker could feel her mind spinning. It was January 2022, and she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her medical team gave her a folder full of information, but Elise was too overwhelmed to read through it. When her nurse navigator suggested attending a support group, Elise felt even more scared. “Just the […]
The partnership between Kesslers Diamonds and ABCD began a number of years ago and continues today. Jim Bretzel talks about the importance of our Mentors, and how he believes the best help for someone going through breast cancer is someone who can empathize with you. Kesslers commitment to ABCD and its services has helped us […]
For years, Keeshia Jones had regular mammograms without any sign of a problem. But in July 2018, her screening mammogram revealed something suspicious. After more testing, Keeshia learned she had breast cancer. As a longtime volunteer for the Jane Cremer Foundation, a southeastern Wisconsin organization promoting awareness of cancer and other diseases impacting women, Keeshia […]
Bonnie Anderson, was at the perfect place in her life – she was a borderline empty nester, she had just married the love of her life and then a call one night from her doctor upset her world. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her breast cancer diagnosis guided her to ABCD’s founder where she […]
ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis announced today the appointment of Billie Jean Smith (President), intellectual property attorney at Boyle Fredrickson; Linda E.B. Hansen (Vice President), retired partner at Foley & Lardner LLP; Gina Rich (Secretary), writer and community volunteer; and Cindy Moon-Mogush (Treasurer), chief marketing & communications officer at Bethesda Lutheran Communities to its Board […]
If you’ve never heard of Inflammatory Breast Cancer, Karen Leonard wants to change that. Diagnosed in 2009 with IBC, Karen knows firsthand how often this rare and aggressive form of breast cancer is misdiagnosed, and how important it is to connect with others who have been on the same journey. “IBC is sometimes called ‘no […]
Congrats to Deb Probelski, breast cancer survivor, ABCD Mentor and huge Brewers fan, who was named one of Major League Baseball’s Honorary Bat Girls for 2021. Deb was chosen by the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club for demonstrating an extraordinary commitment to helping people with breast cancer. Watch video
Cheryl Biro has been involved with ABCD for almost 10 years and has seen the organization through several different lenses during that time, first as a Participant, then as a Mentor, and now as a Board Member. “I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at the end of 2013 and one of the first […]
Join us as we celebrate ABCD and Honor Betsy Brenner & Carol Cameron! The Power of One-to-One Award Recipient:Elizabeth “Betsy” Brenner This year, we will honor Elizabeth “Betsy” Brenner for her significant help elevating ABCD’s mission and services. As a past board president of ABCD and retired publisher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Betsy is a […]
Cindy Sellon has been a Mentor for six years and has mentored twenty women. Remembering how she felt that day in her car when she heard the words, “you have breast cancer” Cindy understands firsthand the importance of encouragement from someone who has been given the same diagnosis, gone through the same treatments and surgery, […]
Since ABCD was founded in 1999, almost 800 people from across the United States have completed ABCD’s Mentor Training Program in order to provide our signature service: delivering customized, one-to-one emotional support to breast cancer patients, caregivers, survivors, and people living with metastatic disease. ABCD’s guiding principle is that everybody should feel supported as they […]
Morgan Oldenburg isn’t one to seek the spotlight. But as the eldest daughter of the late Melodie Wilson Oldenburg, Morgan recognizes her role in carrying on an important legacy in the Milwaukee community. Her mother, an Emmy award-winning journalist, local anchorwoman, and television reporter, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992; seven years later, she founded ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis.
Her phone rang in 1998 and Cancer Physical Therapist, Leslie Waltke, was invited to join a group of women who were determined to bring the need for emotional support to the forefront of the breast cancer community. They did this by setting ABCD apart with its ability to provide perspective through personal experience.
Each year, as the calendar flips to October, we start to see leaves changing, days shortening and pumpkin spice creeping onto every menu in town. We also start seeing pink ribbons popping up at events and in our social feeds. While the return of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity to drive education and […]
Faith, determination, and a fight-to-win mantra all helped Melodie Henderson get through more than a few bumps in the road during her cancer journey, which began in 2017. That November, Melodie had returned for a six-month follow up after doctors saw something suspicious on her previous mammogram. Though Melodie had been through callbacks before, all with […]
Even before her diagnosis, Dara Kumbera knew what it meant to battle breast cancer. In her family, the illness was a familiar and unwelcome occurrence: her mother, grandmother, and cousin had all passed away from the disease. Dara’s own diagnosis came in 1998, when she was only 30 years old. After considering her options, Dara […]
As you may know, October is considered National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time of year dedicated to educating, communicating, and elevating understanding about breast cancer detection, treatment, and living with this disease. However, for so many of us and the people we love, breast cancer is 365/24/7. And this year, so is COVID-19. At ABCD, […]
Following a breast cancer diagnosis, healthcare providers focus on ensuring patients understand the next steps and receive prompt treatment. But patients also need emotional support – and healthcare providers play a vital role in connecting them with the right resources. “There are so many resources out there for breast cancer patients,” says Kayla Byrd, an […]
With the start of a new year comes new hopes, new dreams, new beginnings, and new aspirations. It’s a time to band together and make good things happen. And a time to look back and plan for hopefully better days ahead. ABCD made it through 2020 because YOU were here for us. We are beyond grateful […]
ABCD staff member, Judy Mindin shares the founder’s dream for the organization and how the program inspires confidence by giving hope to all those affected by breast cancer. Continuing her legacy is at the core of ABCD’s program – our founder believed with all her heart that no one should go through a breast cancer […]
When Lori Petitti found out she had breast cancer, she felt overwhelmed. “My doctor seemed to be in a rush to make me do surgery and treatment,” says Lori, who was diagnosed in 2010. “I had so many questions that they weren’t answering.” As she processed the news, Lori attended a few meetings of a […]
For the past 16 years, Judy Mindin has dedicated her time and talents to ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, helping our organization provide customized, one-to-one mentoring for breast cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors. As Director of Program Services & Healthcare Partnerships, Judy oversees the Mentors, from the application process, through training, making matches with Participants, […]
Proceeds from our 2020 Date with a Plate will go to provide customized services to the thousands who will receive a breast cancer diagnosis this year. Breast cancer didn’t stop with Covid-19 … and neither did you! Thank you!
Jack Congleton greets me with a warm smile, a welcome sight on an early spring morning that feels more like the middle of winter. Although I’m just meeting Jack – an ABCD Family & Friends Mentor – for the first time, his friendly, gracious nature immediately puts me at ease. Over the past ten years, […]
When Nichole Kutmas found a lump the size of a pencil eraser, breast cancer was the last thing on her mind. It was May 2013, and Nichole had just celebrated her 32nd birthday. She had two young daughters.
Judy Mindin was ready for a change. After a successful career in sales and marketing at Pabst Brewing Company, she’d kept busy as a painter, and also owned and operated three galleries in the Milwaukee and Door County areas with her husband. But in 2006, life began to feel hectic and unbalanced, so Judy decided […]
Mimi Nieves was used to being in control. A single mother with three young children, she worked full-time and always kept her household – and her life – running smoothly. As a member of the Latino community, and the youngest of eleven siblings, Mimi greatly valued her independence and her ability to handle challenges on […]
It was 2016 and an exciting but hectic time for 34-year-old Jessica Barolsky and her husband Michael. They had just welcomed Noah, their new baby boy, into the world to join his big sister, 3-year-old Yael. The former rabbi at Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun in River Hills, Wisconsin had also just accepted a new job […]
ABCD past Participant and current Mentor, Mary Reina talks about the phone call that changed her life. Shocked and afraid, her ABCD Mentor became her lifeline giving her the hope and support she needed at a very difficult time in her life.
Here’s what you should know if you’re on the receiving end of such a call (and it doesn’t involve Dr. Google) Because my mother and maternal aunt had breast cancer, I had my first screening mammogram relatively early, at 36. After the exam, the technician told me to expect a letter in the mail in […]
When a person calls ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis in need of emotional support, what happens next almost seems like magic. Within a few days, each caller is connected with a breast cancer survivor who truly understands what they’re going through, from diagnosis and treatment to life stage and interests. That personalized support is the […]
One of the most fearful aspects of a breast cancer diagnosis is the loss of control patients feel. For ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis Mentor Kathy Korducki, who was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) in 2018, the thought of losing her hair due to chemotherapy was worse than facing invasive surgery. Warming up to […]
Young, healthy and pregnant, Lisa Armitage was shocked to learn she had breast cancer. She found the compassion she needed in her Mentor. Just hearing the voice of someone who can say – “yes, that was me, I’m here, you’re not alone” meant the world to her.
Concern over breast cancer awareness being limited to the month of October, resulted in a ten-year partnership between ABCD and the Marcus Corporation. Tim Smith, talks about their role in helping to build ABCD’s awareness and how important it is for someone going through breast cancer to have someone who truly understands at their side, […]
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