When Kate Pisano discovered she had breast cancer, she had many reasons to feel helpless. Not only did she now have a serious disease to contend with, she had also recently been through a painful divorce and was a single, working mother with two teenage sons.

She chose to do her treatments at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD, after researching the best treatment options. Once she successfully completed the treatment process and went into remission, Kate realized how important having adult support had been for her. So, she decided to give back so that others, especially single moms, could benefit from her experience and have hope that they can have a full life after treatments.  Kate now works as a patient liaison for Johns Hopkins, doing just that, and this has been pivotal in making her more than just a “survivor,” but, in her words, also a “thriver.”

Kate’s story is one of many testimonies of women who have survived breast cancer and gone on to use their experience to help others. This can truly make the difference between just getting through the process and actually coming out of it in a better place than before. Rather than passively accepting the situation or being helpless, taking action can be incredibly empowering.

As October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we decided to begin our new blog with a series on taking positive social action to help in the fight against breast cancer and in spreading awareness.

For this series, we will first discuss ways in which you can take action, including activism, education, being a liaison, various events, etc. In the second part, we will discuss how social action can help you following a breast cancer diagnosis by empowering you to step into becoming a victor who can help others through your own experience and strength. Next, we will highlight the importance of support groups in coping and developing a network of mutually beneficial relationships with others and how you can overcome together. The last part of the series will include information on how to use your breast cancer experience to inform others, whether this be through social media, teaching groups, distributing information or simply word of mouth.

Social action is an important tool for taking ownership of a situation in any area of life that may tempt one to simply resign to a victim mentality or give in to anger. It takes you beyond your own pain in order to help others.  It also provides a vital area of support and an outlet for many of the emotions that accompany a breast cancer diagnosis.

For this reason, please return each Thursday for more information on specific initiatives or ways you can take action, beyond just Breast Cancer Awareness month to taking positive action all the year round.