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Breast cancer support group helps healing

4:24 AM, Oct 5, 2012   |    comments
African American breast cancer support group meets at Thompson Cancer Center.
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The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is coming up on October 27th.

75% of all race dollars stay in East Tennessee and help local women battle the disease. Some of the money goes towards support groups.

Linda Milan finds strength in numbers. At a support group at Thompson Cancer Center, she is counting out fans for an upcoming outreach at her church and counting on her friends for support.

"In September three years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer," explained Milan.

She is a breast cancer survivor and an African American women. She, along with dozens of other women, meet every month to talk and listen.

"It helps me understand that I am not alone in what I have been through and what I will go through," said Milan, "It's a way of sharing information and also helping the new survivors."

The Thompson Cancer Center applies to the Susan G. Komen Chapter in Knoxville every year for a grant. They use some of that money for this "Women of Wisdom" or WOW support group. The group is for African American women battling breast cancer. Thompson also has a support group for young survivors.

Stephanie Elliot with Komen Knoxville said, "It's a great support program for them, again so they can see somebody who has been through that process before and be encouraged, but it's also a program where they are outreaching to others in their community because they have a breast cancer story."

Along with bonding, the women do share their story and are responsible for educating their fellow sisters.

During a recent group meeting, the group focused on putting together packets for this year's "Pink Sunday" at local churches, "It's basically an educational program within the church and it's a way to celebrate survivors, the memory of the ones who have been lost and also to educate other women about early detection."

This group changes faces each month, but the one thing that never changes, and is always a "WOW" factor is the support.

"It's just a bond that you make once you start coming," said survivor, Margaret Harris.

The Race for the Cure in Knoxville is October 27th.

WBIR, Meteorologist Mike Witcher, and Reporter Allison Bybee each have a team. Mike and Allison are also this years co-chairs for the race.

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