Meet Debbie Kilgore: Community Liaison for BCA-CV
Posted November 11, 2016 •
Read Time: 4 minutes
We sat down with Community Liaison and breast cancer survivor Debbie Kilgore to hear her story, and the impact that she makes in the local community.
SS: Tell me a little about the organization you are a part of.
DK: BCA-CV is a wonderful organization. Breast Cancer Awareness-Cumberland Valley has been supporting local breast cancer patients in our service area. We provide free mammograms for men and women who have little to no insurance, and cannot afford to be screened. BCA-CV also offers many free programs to local breast cancer patients and their families to aid in supporting them through their entire breast cancer journey. For those who undergo surgery, the patients receive after-surgery information and supplies from a BCA-CV staff person to aid in recovery from breast cancer surgery and/or treatments. These supplies include the Breast Cancer Treatment Handbook and our “After Surgery Heart Pillow.” The handbook is really an excellent source of information for a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient. It covers all aspects and phases of emotions, surgery options, and treatment options. BCA-CV also provides free wigs, scarves, and hats for any woman going through chemotherapy, not just breast cancer patients.
Our Angel program is also very special. Angels are volunteers that send weekly cards/notes to diagnosed breast cancer survivors when they are going through treatment. This is such a great source of encouragement to a patient, by putting a smile on their face when they receive a card or gift in the mail. We also offer support groups, which allow patients and their families to share stories, concerns, and questions with the group under the guidance of a professional counselor. Our office is staffed with 3 breast cancer survivors that can relate to concerns and fears. We are familiar with the anxiety and questions a diagnosis of breast cancer can cause, and we are here to share our experience and knowledge in order to help. Some of the most valuable information and emotional support come from those who have faced the same experiences. I could go on and on…but there are so many wonderful opportunities that BCA-CV offers the patients and their families.
SS: How did you get involved in BCA-CV?
DK: I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. Throughout my diagnosis and treatments, I got involved in BCA-CV through a recommendation. I went to all the events, the support groups, etc. and it was all worth it. During a scary time in my life, I had incredible support from BCA. I have always said that my cancer led me to BCA! My diagnosis has taught me so many life lessons, gave me the avenue to give back, and introduced me to so many new and awesome people! Even the ugliest and darkest times in our lives can lead us to beautiful, bright things.
SS: What are some key aspects or points that BCA-CV focuses on?
DK: BCA-CV seeks to:
- Promote early detection of breast cancer in women and men
- Increase awareness of breast cancer in the community
- Advocate locally for breast cancer causes
- Support and assist those affected by breast cancer
- Celebrate survivors
- Raise funds to provide breast cancer programs and services
We want, through community involvement, to share the importance of breast cancer awareness, and to ensure that no one has to go through it alone.
SS: I understand that you are a key part in the BCA-CV event called “Step ‘N Stride.” Can you tell me about this event?
DK: All money raised from our Step ‘N Stride event will support our local community in the fight against breast cancer. BCA-CV provides an early detection program that pays for mammograms and ultrasounds for individuals that have little or no support. We also provide many free after diagnosis programs, which aid in support and comfort as patients fight their breast cancer battle. In addition, BCA-CV holds events and meetings to honor and support on-going survivorship. It’s an awesome event! What is special about BCA-CV and the events that we do, is that all the proceeds go directly into the community. Your donations can and will help someone who is essentially right in your backyard!
SS: What is one thing that you want our readers to know about breast cancer awareness and early detection?
DK: Mammograms are extremely important. A mammogram is a specific type of breast exam used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women. This quick medical exam uses a noninvasive x-ray targeted to each breast, producing pictures that your doctor can use to identify and treat any abnormal areas, possibly indicating the presence of cancer. Mammograms are so important. Annual mammograms can detect cancer early — when it is most treatable. In fact, mammograms show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Mammograms can also prevent the need for extensive treatment for advanced cancers and improve chances of breast conservation. Current guidelines from the American College of Radiology, the American Cancer Society, and the Society for Breast Cancer Imaging recommend that women receive annual mammograms starting at age 40 — even if they have no symptoms or family history of breast cancer.
For more information, please visit: BCACV