Offering support based on experience can be very comforting to others as they face similar difficult times. We met with Kieran Losito (KL) to go over her Day of Giving experience supporting women following a breast cancer diagnosis.
AC: For your Day of Giving, what organization did you volunteer for?
KL: I volunteered at Women Supporting Women.
AC: Can you tell us a bit about the organization?
KL: Women Supporting Women is a group serving the Delmarva Peninsula area on the East coast, providing awareness, education, and support to those affected by breast cancer.
AC: Was this your first-time volunteering there?
KL: No, it’s an ongoing project I participate in with some other women. We sew hats for people undergoing chemotherapy at the local cancer clinic, as well as seat belt cushions for people having breast surgery and mastectomies.
I was first connected with them through my surgeon in the spring after my own breast cancer diagnosis. As they offered me support, it led me to offer what assistance and caring I could for other women who were struggling.
AC: After your surgeon suggested it, what motivated you to participate and volunteer there?
KL: The women involved during my journey were really lovely and supportive, and since my diagnosis wasn’t so bad in comparison to what many others face, I felt like I was in a position to lend support rather than receive it.
AC: Are there any requirements for volunteers?
KL: No, anyone can lend a hand. The organization also offers meal support for those in treatment, and tote bags full of information to patients – as well as wigs and prostheses. There’s a support group, hats, scarves, a lift chair loaner program – and a mentoring program if you just need someone to reach out and stay in touch with you.
AC: That’s heartwarming, it’s crucial to have a support group during difficult times, how would you say the group has helped you during your journey?
KL: I’m not very good at reaching out when I’m struggling – one of the things I love about this group is that with your permission, they’ll reach out to you. And I’m not very good at accepting help – but being able to offer it to others allows me to feel more connected with the community and other people experiencing some of the same fears and struggles.
AC: How was your experience while volunteering? What did you do?
KL: I used my day of giving to drop off hats at the Tidal Health Cancer Center to have available for patients. I then purchased soft and fleecy fabrics and spent the afternoon with a friend sewing more handmade projects for future giving. Even when it’s hard to get out during the pandemic, there are ways to serve and care for others.
AC: What would you say to encourage others to participate?
KL: In a time when the pandemic has everyone – especially immuno-compromised cancer patients – so isolated, making connections is important; both for the person reaching out and the person struggling. Through homecooked meals, phone calls, sewing skills – things many of us can manage – you can let someone else know they’re cared for by the community at a potentially scary and painful time. When so many things conspire to keep us all divided, reminding each other we still care is an important way of keeping community.