The program pairs newly diagnosed women with trained breast cancer survivor mentors
Baltimore—( December 21, 2017 )— Golden Ring Middle School students raised and donated $800 to MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center’s Survivors Offering Support (SOS) program last week, money that will help fund programming for the mentoring and education program that assists women undergoing breast cancer treatment. The middle school students held a fundraiser at their school where they sold off art they created. The “Art for a Cause” event on Dec. 14 drew 250 guests, including local elected officials.
The school researched various groups supporting breast cancer causes, and selected speakers to participate in the event. The students and staff later selected the SOS program as its recipient. “We are so grateful for the generous donation from Golden Ring Middle School to the Survivors Offering Support program,” said Edla Coleman, the program manager for the SOS program at MedStar Franklin Square. “The students presented their artwork for sale, but more importantly, demonstrated such care, concern and passion for people fighting breast cancer that was inspiring and beyond their years. The teachers and staff were also incredible in their desire to make a difference and to lead the way for their students to develop their ability to see that they too can make a difference in the world.”
Dr. Kristen Fernandez, director of the Breast Center at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, said the program helps new breast cancer patients navigate treatments and recovery. “SOS is just another way for us to care for the whole patient and provide individualized care to breast cancer patients being treated at MedStar Franklin Square,” Fernandez said. “For some women, their SOS mentor is just someone that they talk to once or twice on the phone with and maybe ask a few questions. For others their SOS Mentor keeps them company during their chemotherapy treatments, meets them weekly for coffee or lunch. In some cases the mentor identifies issues such as financial problems that can be addressed by this group or other programs that we have at MedStar Franklin Square. Women are so appreciative of this group and I am so thankful for donations like this that allow us to continue this wonderful service.”
The SOS program was founded by Nabisco executive Denise O’Neill in 2004 after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now, it has expanded to 13 hospitals in the Baltimore/Washington region, including MedStar Franklin Square. More than 400 mentors who have suffered from breast cancer themselves have been trained to offer emotional support to newly-diagnosed breast cancer patients in the SOS program, making the breast cancer journey less confusing and solitary. The program offers workshops in how to transition to life after breast cancer, partner support and caregiver workshops, in addition to mentoring. Each mentor undergoes 4.5 hours of initial training on breast cancer, surgical procedures, lymphedema and how to mentor others. They also undergo ongoing training. The SOS mentors are matched with patients based on age, stage, surgery, treatment as well as interests and family background. “It is with deep gratitude that we accept this donation which will help enable SOS to keep the support, workshops and services to women fighting breast cancer going, and to help us to work with even more women on the difficult journey of fighting breast cancer in the coming year,” Coleman said.
About MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center is a not-for-profit 378-bed community teaching hospital located in the White Marsh section of eastern Baltimore County, Maryland. MedStar Franklin Square provides many medical and healthcare services, including a broad range of healthcare specialties, advanced technologies and treatments not traditionally found at community hospitals. The hospital is ranked third in admissions among all Maryland hospitals and is first in Emergency Department visits with more than 108,000 visits annually. MedStar Franklin Square is accredited by the Joint Commission and certified as a Primary Stroke Center and has earned some of the nation’s most prestigious quality awards including Magnet Designation for excellence in nursing, the Excellence Award for Quality Improvement from the Delmarva Foundation and inclusion in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospital specialty ranking for four consecutive years. With more than 3,300 employees, MedStar Franklin Square is one of the largest employers in Baltimore County. Visit medstarfranklin.org for more information.