From Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority Sister, To Caregiver, To Team Sharsheret Racer
I first learned about Sharsheret in 2007 when I became a sister of the Mu Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. Sharsheret had already been one of Alpha Epsilon Phi’s national philanthropies, so I knew what they did and why it was important to raise money to support their services, but at that time Sharsheret’s mission didn’t personally impact me much beyond its connection to AEPhi.
Fast forward 12 years when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 59 after her routine mammogram. It came as a shock to all of us, but I immediately knew exactly where she should turn to find support and comfort throughout this frightening and uncertain time. Because of what I learned about Sharsheret in college, I was able to be a resource for my mom. She called Sharsheret right away and was connected to a social worker who provided my mom with well-organized information she could use and comfort items to help her with the effects of treatment. She also received a cookbook and a binder to take notes and record treatment information. Perhaps most importantly, Sharsheret connected her with a peer supporter – another Jewish woman who had been through a similar diagnosis. Both the peer supporter and her Sharsheret social worker were able to support my mom in ways our family could not. Now, over one year later, my mom is healthy and cancer free.
Before COVID hit, I had signed up to run the 2020 Chicago Marathon to raise money for Sharsheret – it would have been my 11th marathon. Even though the marathon didn’t take place, I still continued fundraising and exceeded my goal because Sharsheret and the women and families they support need our help now more than ever. I may not be running a marathon but, Sharsheret has been busier than ever providing social services to cancer patients, holding webinars on how to deal with cancer in the time of COVID, sending out “Busy Boxes” with games and toys for kids whose moms are undergoing treatment, and providing other virtual programs for women and their families, like paint nights and healthy living cooking demos. Your contribution to Sharsheret ensures that these services continue so that women like my mom can receive support when they need it more than ever.