Reach & Raise Helped Me Heal: Marisa Gefen
My first introduction to Living Beyond Breast Cancer was at the 2015 Reach & Raise kick-off yoga class at Ardmore Toyota in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. At the ripe old age of 35, I had just completed the seemingly endless 9 month marathon of active cancer treatment that started with chemotherapy and ended dramatically with a painful, burn-laden 5-week course of radiation. My oncologist set me free to re-enter the world as a normal, treated, breast cancer survivor – which was exactly the opposite of how I felt inside. I knew I needed to find a community of others who understood what I just gone through and that I was not ready to re-enter the world I came from. I came across a flyer for the yoga event, and LBBC sounded much more in-line with where I was at that moment in time than any other breast cancer organization I’d investigated online. And so I went to Ardmore Toyota that Sunday morning in February 2015.
Immediately, The LBBC team warmly embraced me as one of their own and began tossing out ideas for ways I could get involved. By the end of that emotional yoga class I knew my first step towards assimilation was to lead a team of my supporters in participating and fundraising for LBBC’s Reach & Raise. The Believe Team was born that Sunday morning.
I started by reaching out to my closest family and friends, asking them to sign up as a team member and to lead their own fundraising campaign on my behalf. Everyone around me was looking for ways to help me through my breast cancer journey and I was finally giving them a way. I shared my fundraising page on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and hung flyers all over my exam rooms and employee spaces encouraging everyone to sign up or donate to my cause. Quickly, the donations started pouring in.
I was humbled by the number of people I hadn’t seen in years and years who wanted to support The Believe Team. Before I knew it, the Believe Team was in the top 5 teams for fundraising. I learned the key to fundraising is showing passion about your cause and simply asking. LBBC and this process helped me transition back into the world of normalcy after treatment. Raising money for an organization I am passionate about makes me grateful for being here and for having the opportunity to give to others going through the horrifying process of a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, particularly young women. This has been therapeutic for my own healing process. No one should go through breast cancer alone. Thank you LBBC!