Special to the Birmingham Times
Across the country during the month of October, women and men are uniting in the fight against breast cancer. Various events are occurring to raise funds for research, honor loved ones who have lost their battle to breast cancer, and empower those who are continuing their fight.
On October 14, Birmingham-based, Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center (www.forgeon.org) hosted a retreat that brought together Breast Cancer Support Groups from three different Alabama counties: Blount, Cullman and Walker.
Forge is a partnership between The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Brookwood Baptist Health, Grandview Medical Center, St. Vincent’s Health System and UAB Medicine that serves breast cancer survivors and co-survivors residing or receiving treatment in the Greater Birmingham area, which includes Blount, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties.
Forge provided a day of relaxation, rest, and reflection to breast cancer survivors and their loved ones at the Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center, which is located at the Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullman, Alabama.
Sister Mary McGehee and Forge’s Volunteer and Programs Coordinator, Megan Sisk, directed the retreat. The purpose of this free retreat was to unify survivors and co-survivors in rural communities, as well as educate the attendees on the benefits of mindfulness.
Sister Mary led the attendees through guided imagery (an exercise that can be used to promote relaxation, reduce stress, manage pain, and promote healing) and yoga. For women and men with breast cancer, research shows that yoga reduces stress and fatigue and helps in providing a better quality of life.
Afterwards, attendees were given an opportunity to walk the beautiful grounds to pray, meditate, and reflect on their own breast cancer journey. Sandi Godsey, a breast cancer survivor who attends Forge’s Blount County Breast Cancer Support Group, commented on the day’s activities: “It was spiritual, uplifting and solace for my body, soul and mental well-being. I loved it!”
The mission of Forge is to assist survivors and co-survivors (anyone who walks alongside a survivor) in taking an active role in their fight against breast cancer by offering support, knowledge, strength and direction. Through Forge, all those touched by breast cancer can bond with others to Forge a new future.
To learn more about the Breast Cancer Support Groups in Blount, Cullman, and Walker counties and other services Forge provides, contact Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center at 1-800-811-8925 or firstname.lastname@example.org.