Pink Ribbon Girls Wrap a Ribbon of Support Around Women Fighting Cancer
A pink ribbon extends beyond the month of October. Named for the international sign of moral support among breast cancer survivors, local organization Pink Ribbon Girls (PRG) is painting our town pink. PRG offers a network of support and free direct services for women with breast and reproductive cancers.
PRG wraps a ribbon of hope around the women of Dayton, Cincinnati, and soon, Columbus. Its motto is “No one travels this road alone.” PRG knows too well the challenges of diagnosis, treatment and recovery. They remind women they are strong and brave and encourage them through a fight for their lives.
Liberty Township resident and breast cancer survivor Tami Tenoever was a recipient of Pink Ribbon Girls’ services.
“I love that Pink Ribbon Girls are based locally and give back to the community where we are. Most of the women involved in the organization have been touched in some way by cancer. You can see the passion and the love they have for women,” Tenoever explains. “They don’t want anyone to feel isolated as they work through this disease.”
Jan Middleton is a breast cancer survivor and Director of Community Partners and Education at PRG.
“When you are diagnosed, your entire family is diagnosed,” Middleton says. “We keep the whole family in mind when we plan our services.”
There is often little time to process a diagnosis. Heather Boes, Liberty Township survivor, recalls the stress of that time.
“It was a whirlwind,” she says. “I found out, then—boom, boom, boom—there was an appointment every day…mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy. Then there’s the call that turns your world upside-down.”
Before patients even know what they need, PRG assists so ill women can focus on healing. Meals for the whole family are delivered to doorsteps. Housekeeping services are scheduled to lighten the load. Transportation is offered to and from treatment and doctor’s appointments. Peer support provides wisdom and a listening ear.
Lisa Schneider learned about Pink Ribbon Girls long before her diagnosis. She never dreamed she’d be a recipient of their services. Schneider, a mother and grandmother, is a caregiver for a large family in Liberty Township.
“With eleven people to feed, the meals are a God-send,” Schneider explains. “They make really good meals that taste like homemade! I don’t have to worry about making nutritional meals.”
“The cleaning has been unbelievable for me, too, because I’m a neat freak,” she adds.
Pink Ribbon Girls’ free services are not income-based, but offered to local women of all ages and at all stages of cancer.
When she was originally offered PRG’s services, Schneider balked, thinking she didn’t deserve the kind of free help she could technically afford.
“The Pink Ribbon Girls told me, ‘You don’t know what’s coming your way. Let us help you,’” Schneider recalls. “It’s not about what you can afford, it’s about what you can and cannot do.”
Pink Ribbon Girls’ services are offered for two months, with the timing chosen by each individual.
“Breast cancer does not have only a two-month treatment period,” Middleton says. “We tell people to take a look at what their treatment plan is, and let us know when it fits in to best help.”
When other support groups stop giving, PRG fills the gap.
Middleton says, “When you are first diagnosed, everybody comes around. Then, your hair grows back and unfortunately, people think, ‘Oh! She’s good!’ and they move on. But you are not 100% better, and at 12-months down the road, you may just be going into reconstruction surgery and really need more help.”
Schneider shares, “I cannot describe how touching the organization is to people that are truly desperate—not financially desperate or physically desperate—but emotionally dependent to just get through this.”
“Pink Ribbon Girls has been through this. They know what to do to assist you and your families through each stage,” Schneider adds.
“To be a recipient of their kindness, understanding and support, it’s really priceless,” she says, tears in her eyes.
Pink Ribbon Girls is a gift to women and their families in our region—a package of love and hope, tied with a bow of pink.