Sinclair Cares: Support as part of breast cancer treatment

At a bakery, two women make a connection over more than coffee.

For Wendy Weinert and Holly Geelhaar, the common bond is cancer.

Weinert found a lump in her breast last Thanksgiving. It was a terrifying discovery because she lost her mother to breast cancer.

"It was frightening at first, thinking, how am I going to get through this with the two kids," Weinert said.

It's a journey that Geelhaar understands. She was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago and is just now coming out the other side.

"I try to tell her to keep her chin up. It's hard to go through treatment. You go through the gamut of emotions. You're angry that you got cancer. You feel horrible," Geelhaar said.

Weinert and Geelhaar were matched through the Embrace wellness program at Carroll Hospital in Maryland.

The program pairs women who are just beginning a difficult journey with mentors like Geelhaar, who have been there to provide a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.

"Geelhaar has been an absolute blessing," Weinert said.

Marcia McMullin, coordinator for the Center for Breast Health at Carroll Hospital, said even if a formal program like this one doesn't exist in other area, It's vitally important for breast cancer patients to seek out support.

"It's a connection like no other. When you've gone through that experience, you want to be able to talk to somebody else that's gone through that experience," McMullin said.

For Geelhaar, it's about giving back for a second chance.

"I could do this stuff for the rest of my life and I could never, ever repay all the people that helped me, and this is my chance. So, I’m grateful for that," Geelhaar said.

Researchers at The Ohio State University found that breast cancer patients participating in psychological interventions, like support groups, improved survival rates by 56 percent over 11 years.

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