Firefly Sisterhood was started nearly 3 years ago, in May of 2014, to provide emotional and social support for women facing a breast cancer diagnosis (read how Firefly began in the Founding Story blog).
Scientific data demonstrates unequivocally the benefits of emotional support services, such as peer mentoring, for cancer patients. Similarly, the anecdotal evidence collected through the Firefly matching program clearly reflects the powerful impact on quality of life for the women we serve.
In the words of several Firefly program participants:
- “(With my Guide), I felt like there was an instant connection.”
- “Firefly Sisterhood provided one person who was focused on me and what I was going through.”
- “I knew of many breast cancer survivors, but it was especially important for me to see someone who had many similarities to my situation – same age at diagnosis, similar stage of life with young children, same stage of cancer. It was like (my Guide) threw me a lifeline.”
- “(My Guide provides) the exact support I need right now going through my surgery and treatment to encourage me in my healing!”
- “(Firefly is) a great support system which makes your journey lighter.”
In the March/April 2017 Oncology Issues magazine, we were delighted to see the front page featuring a peer-mentoring program similar to ours! Like Fireflyn Sisterhood, the Embrace Peer program, out of Carroll Hospital’s Center for Breast Health in Maryland, was begun as a result of feedback from breast cancer patients attending a focus group to discuss their collective experiences with breast cancer, its treatment, and their support throughout.
Firefly Sisterhood and Embrace Peer were started around the same time, with the goal of addressing the lack of psychosocial support for women facing a breast cancer diagnosis, as elicited from the focus groups. Both programs are volunteer driven, require considerable Guide training, are led by paid professionals, and are continuously expanding to ensure that women expeiencing breast cancer are receiving the emotional support they need to heal. Read the complete article HERE.
Firefly partners with many local and national organizations to carry out our mission and to support work that positively affects the lives of people with cancer. We look forward to contacting Embrace Peer to swap stories and share lessons learned along the way. As the saying goes, great minds think alike!
Amim AL, Neuner J, Duthie EA, Finn VR, et al. A one-to-one mentoring support service for breast cancer survivors. Wisc Med J. 2014;113(5):185-189.
Hobart D, McMullin M, Peer mentoring: a volunteer-run program benefits breast cancer patients and survivors. Oncology Issues March/April 2017: 24-29.
Written by Amy Tix, Firefly Staffer and breast cancer survivor.