After diagnosis, a woman’s breast cancer journey is filled with numerous tests, surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and medications. But the medical portion is just half of a patient’s journey.
The other half is mental, requiring a community of support from family, friends and most importantly, complete strangers who have “been there” and can offer guidance for the practical, spiritual, emotional, financial and physical challenges cancer patients may face.
Bhavna Ramani, of Roswell, and Stephani Tucker, of Gwinnett, have both “been there.”
Bhavna always attends her yearly mammogram appointments with zero hiccups. But that all changed in 2018 when her mammogram came back abnormal. By January 2019, she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite her many years of philanthropy with several cancer organizations, nothing prepared her for her own journey.
Stephani Tucker is the executive director of It’s The Journey, a nonprofit that has raised over $17.5 million to fund grants that provide breast cancer education, screening, early detection, and support services. Although Stephani works with breast cancer patients daily, she never imagined she would become one of them.
Today, both women are on the road to recovery. However, neither could have pushed through without the help of other women who understand the challenges of this fight outside of medical care. Both women turned to family, friends, and fellow survivors for comfort, support, to gain perspective, and to ask questions.
Now, amongst other things they have in common, both women have made it their life’s mission to walk with others through their cancer journey, providing guidance and comfort to women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.
For Bhavna, that meant becoming a volunteer with Northside Hospital’s Network of Hope, a nonprofit group of cancer survivors who serve to educate and mentor patients and their caregivers.
Stephani returned to her position as executive director at It’s The Journey with a new perspective, where she continues to share her story. In October, Stephani joined hundreds of people for the GA 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer and also was a speaker at this year’s Paint Gwinnett Pink.
Their stories underscore an important message: that the clinical fight against cancer can help you survive, but the support you find along the way is what makes you live.
*The health story shared here may portray atypical results of survival for this type of cancer, given its severity and stage. Atypical results are considered surviving a cancer that has less than a 50 percent five-year survival rate. Patients should consult an expert to discuss specific treatment plans and the possible outcomes before making medical decisions.