Lending a helping hand to women with breast cancer

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When facing something as daunting as a breast or gynecologic cancer, the little things can add up — and very often, women don’t reach for outside help.

“In Great Neck, we don’t have too many people that step forward and require that,” said Laura Weinberg, president of the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition.

But for those that do need help, the Great Neck-based group — like many other breast cancer coalitions across Long Island — has a “lend a helping hand” program.

The goal is to “alleviate some of the stresses and demands associated with post breast cancer surgery and subsequent treatment,” according to their website.

They do this by assisting with day-to-day things like house cleaning, home care, food shopping and buying post-mastectomy accessory items like bras and wigs.

“The ones that call us are really desperate and really need help,” Weinberg said.

The Manhasset Women’s Coalition Against Breast Cancer, which Weinberg said likely assists over 100 people, provides similar services. This is done through their outreach program, according to their website, which offers meal deliveries, house cleaning, wellness services, financial assistance, transportation and a host of other services.

“The goal of our Outreach Program is to provide each woman with information and support, as well as relief from some of the day-to-day stresses and pressures of taking care of a family, including herself,” the website says.

These programs mirror the original Lend a Helping Hand program, which was forged by the Babylon Breast Cancer Coalition in 1996.

Beverly Flaherty, a full-time worker with the Babylon Breast Cancer Coalition, said programs like these arose from necessity. Traveling between treatments can be hard, especially if the person diagnosed has family working or none at all, she said.

“The program can really be tailored to what the person needs,” Flaherty said.

“It’s definitely needed,” Flaherty added. “We’ve tried to call the program the same thing on Long Island so everyone knows what it is.”

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