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Self Help to host talk

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By Kirsten Laskey

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to recognize this month, Self Help, Inc. is sowing some seeds of information about this disease with the goal of reaping hope.

Dr. Erin Bouquin, a breast cancer survivor and a Los Alamos National Laboratory employee, will give a talk titled, “Perspectives on Breast Cancer” at 7 p.m. Thursday at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church.

Self Help is hosting the talk, which is free.

Ellen Morris Bond, executive director of Self Help ,Inc., explained Bouquin has been a breast cancer survivor for six years. When she hit the three-year mark, Bouquin threw a party and asked for donations to give to Self Help, Inc.

Through a three-year grant from United Way of Northern New Mexico, which awarded the nonprofit organization $5,000 each year, Self Help has supported cancer patients.

The funding allows Self Help to help cancer patients deal with any financial issues they face will on treatment.

“We’re trying to alleviate those pressures,” Morris Bond said.

Through this talk, Bouquin and Self Help will attempt to offer some emotional support as well.

“I think whenever there is a gathering of people there is usually emotional support given,” Morris Bond said. “I think people need a public place for emotional support.”

She added, “I also think having information is empowering to people who are trying to understand their own health conditions.”

During her talk, Bouquin said, “I’ll try to draw correlations between the history of breast cancer and the historical perspectives and current improvements in diagnostics and treatment.”

In the past, surgery was the biggest tool used to treat cancer. Nowadays, Bouquin said treatment is tailored to the specific type of cancer and the individual patient.

Through her talk, Bouquin said she hopes to convey “some level of optimism. Hopefully (listeners) will get excited about what’s going on in the science of cancer.”

While Bouquin has had her own experiences with breast cancer, she noted that every experience                   is different.

“Every cancer survivor is unique in their experiences and their experience with their specific type of cancer. Some may think breast cancer is all one group. But each person who experiences it comes out of it in a different way.”

Whatever their experiences, they can turn to Self Help for assistance.

“I think for people who are newly diagnosed, (they) need to reach out to the community for support. We’re one of the agencies they can contact,” Morris Bond said.

The funding through United Way allows Self Help to provide this service.

Donna Schroeder, executive director of United Way, said Self Help has provided this service for several years.

“They’ve been doing this for several years and we felt it was a real need for the community,” she said.

Schroeder encourages people to attend this lecture. “I just think this is an excellent community event for information about breast cancer and October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”