Guest Post: Pathways to Hope
Pathways to Hope
by Lesley Andrews
I was 38 years old when I heard the words, “You have breast cancer” and my world was shattered. I was terrified about what was to come. Would I live to see 40? If I did, would I ever be able to have children? I didn’t know where to turn for help. A dear friend of mine found a wonderful organization called Pathways. Pathways connected me to other women with breast cancer and helped me get through a very dark time in my life. I did make it to 40 and, through a miracle, was blessed to have 3 children. Little did I know that I would become the Director of Pathways 12 years after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Now I am able to pass on the support that I received to so many other survivors.
Since 1994, Pathways, located in Summit, New Jersey, has helped women with cancer by offering programs and services all free-of-charge when they need it most. Until we find a cure for breast cancer, women with cancer need support right now to get through treatment and beyond.
Our newest program is the Sister Strong Fitness Program where women undergoing or recovering from cancer treatment improve their strength, flexibility and balance during one-on-one fitness training. Our certified Cancer Exercise Specialists offer free fitness training and tailor the work-outs according to each woman’s needs.
Pathways Sister Strong Fitness Program participant, Linda and Fitness Trainer/Cancer Exercise Specialist, Yasmin are wearing Jessica Simpson Active. 100% of proceeds of our pink collection which you will see throughout this blog, will be donated to Pathways through 11/11.
Shelly and Christine, Pathways Sister Strong Fitness Program participants and breast cancer survivors, share their experiences:
“I was so fortunate to have the Pathways Sister Strong Fitness Program to help me recover from my difficult year of breast cancer treatment and surgery. The program has helped me to regain my strength, flexibility and mental focus I need to go back to a normal life, where I am a working mom and wife. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” - Shelly
“I can’t say enough good things about the Pathways program. It was what I needed at a time when I really needed it. Training with Yasmin has been so uplifting. I was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the pandemic and required 3 surgeries and 6 rounds of chemo. Previous to my diagnosis I was always physically active, but after my treatment I just didn’t know where to begin to get back to being me. I was scared of hurting myself. Yasmin was just so encouraging and knowledgeable. She was patient and really listened and tailored exercises very specific for my needs. I am so much physically stronger then when I started and that has helped me mentally be in a much better place.” - Christine
Pathways continues to offer several other programs and services which provide solace, comfort and empowerment during a woman’s struggles through cancer treatment and recovery. Pathways Cooks delivers organic, healthy and delicious meals and sides weekly to women undergoing cancer treatment and their families so they can focus on healing. The Pathways Women’s Cancer Teaching Project empowers survivors to shape the future of patient-centered, humanistic healthcare by sharing experiences during educational sessions with doctors and students of medicine at over 20 healthcare institutions and universities. The Pathways Financial Assistance Fund provides financial support.
Metastatic breast cancer survivor, Alison Hodge, shares her experiences with all four of these Pathways programs:
There are many pathways to moving forward through a cancer experience and toward healing. Pathways, as they are so eloquently and rightfully named, is undoubtedly one of those. I have received support and empowerment through the Pathways Sister Strong Fitness Program, Pathways Cooks, the Pathways Financial Assistance Fund and the Pathways Women’s Cancer Teaching Project.
Because of Pathways, today I am on a path forward to living my best life now. I am healthy, I am strong, I am empowered and I am well. But most of all I AM EXTREMELY grateful to the all those that hooked arms with me on this journey...you know who you are… and I am grateful you were a pathway to my total healing and well being. I am now friends with a wonderful group of women in Pathways with shared paths in this cancer experience. Thank you Lesley, Yasmin and Pathways for your compassion and understanding the various needs of those who experience cancer. Lesson: Compassion carries the energy of healing. - Alison
Physically, my stage 3 breast cancer was cured in 5 years because I found good doctors. Emotionally, I was not healed until I found Pathways 10 years later.
- Grace, Pathways Teaching Project and Sister Strong participant