Press Release

Sharsheret To Launch New Programs In Time For Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Hackensack, New Jersey (October 7, 2005) — Sharsheret, a national not-for-profit organization supporting young Jewish women facing breast cancer, will launch three new programs in time for October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The programs will address the specific concerns of women living in the advanced stages of breast cancer and the needs of family members and caregivers, and will include a moderated web-based forum to build community and provide support for young Jewish women facing breast cancer nationwide.

Embrace, a program for women living with advanced breast cancer, will include individual counseling sessions with Sharsheret’s staff counselor, as well as a monthly telephone-based support group that will connect women with medical experts and with each other. “For women who are facing metastatic breast cancer, individual supportive counseling and a phone-based support group will help manage anxieties and fears that are magnified beyond the diagnosis of breast cancer,” says Shera Dubitsky, Sharsheret’s Link Program Coordinator. “The tailored support and resources Sharsheret provides will help women living with advanced breast cancer feel less isolated and more connected with other Jewish women facing the same emotional, physical, and spiritual challenges.”

The Family Focus Program will include resource materials to guide family members and caregivers through treatment and beyond. Sharsheret will establish “Ask Sharsheret,” a phone line for family members to connect with Sharsheret representatives to ask questions regarding the care of their loved one or their own feelings and concerns. “Family members are affected when breast cancer touches someone they love and they often call Sharsheret with questions about breast cancer and their responsibilities as caregivers,” says Sharsheret Program Director Elana Silber. “The Family Focus program has been developed to address these questions and to enhance the quality of support the women of Sharsheret receive from their families.”

Sharsheret will also introduce a web-based forum to its website, www.sharsheret.org, that will allow women diagnosed with breast cancer and at high risk of developing breast cancer to post questions and comments moderated by Sharsheret staff members. The forum will broaden Sharsheret’s national community, and enable women who seek privacy to connect with others who share their diagnosis and lifestyle.

In addition to launching new programs this Fall, Sharsheret will also expand some of its existing programs. Best Face Forward, a program to address the cosmetic side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, will be expanded to include resources regarding hair loss as a critical side effect of treatment. The Busy Box program, which provides resources for parents facing breast cancer and activities to occupy young children while mom is resting, will be expanded to include resources for teenage children coping with a parent’s diagnosis.

About Sharsheret
Since the organization’s founding in 2001, Sharsheret has received over 5,800 phone calls from those affected by breast cancer, health care professionals, women’s organizations, Jewish organizations, and others interested in learning more about the important services Sharsheret provides nationwide.

Sharsheret has developed three core programs in response to the needs of young Jewish women facing breast cancer: The Link Program, a peer support network connecting young women newly diagnosed or at high risk of developing breast cancer with others who share similar diagnoses and experiences, Education and Outreach Programs, including health care symposia addressing the concerns of young women facing breast cancer, and Quality of Life Programs, including the Busy Box for young parents facing breast cancer, Best Face Forward to address the cosmetic side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and Embrace for women living with advanced breast cancer.

For more information about Sharsheret, or the new Fall programs, please call Program Director Elana Silber at (866) 474-2774 or visit www.sharsheret.org.