Support group offers solace for women battling breast cancer

CHARLOTTE — You may notice several people wearing pink on Wednesday. It’s in correlation with breast cancer awareness, a topic that deserves the spotlight year-round.

In partnership with the American Cancer Society, Channel 9 is sharing the stories of survivors, as well as resources.

The Reach to Recovery program helps support those facing breast cancer from diagnosis to survivorship.

Channel 9 reporter Deneige Broom spoke with three women about how they’re using their own journeys to lift each other up.

Kristi Rowley said she was diagnosed in April at the age of 40. She has since completed treatment.

Jeannine Morroney-Teets, however, is a three-year survivor.

Laura Renegar said her mother passed away from breast cancer when she was 61 years old. It was her mother’s third battle with the disease. She said she started a support group soon after her mother passed away.

Three different women with three different stories, displaying three different examples of strength.

“It’s been a rough six months, but I can’t even imagine how much more rough it would have been if I didn’t have the support of other survivors,” Rowley said.

The trio is one small part of a larger community in Charlotte working to make strides against breast cancer. And in more than 30 years, it has grown to help hundreds of women navigate the triumphs and losses that come with a cancer diagnosis.

“I went in for my first mammogram, there was nothing you could feel. But it had taken over my right breast,” Rowley said.

“Over 100 visits to the Cancer Institute, multiple doctors, seven surgeries, it’s a lot. It’s hard to digest, it’s an education. But if you have people that have been through it, it’s it’s valuable,” Morroney-Teets explained.

While recalling their journeys, the three women cried and laughed together to get through what would otherwise be much darker moments.

They want to encourage women to get their mammograms every year, as young as possible. And if you someday join their club, they want you to know your story is not over.

“Just being positive. Surround yourself with positive people, knowing that you’re not alone. It is 1 in 8. There are many people you can reach out to that have survived this before you,” Rowley said.

“My message is, you know, accept the help, ask for the help, and know that there is a huge community that can help,” Morroney-Teets said.

VIDEO: ‘I’m a warrior’: Breast cancer survivor joins vaccine trials in hopes of helping others

Comments on this article