Going Beyond the Pink helps navigate through cancer journeys
Learning you have breast cancer is the start of a long, scary journey; but with Going Beyond the Pink’s help, breast cancer patients and survivors don’t make that journey alone.
Going Beyond the Pink was founded by KARA KENAN, who is a breast cancer survivor. Initially, the organization, founded in 2017, focused on breast cancer prevention and support of patients and survivors. However, Kenan, who also serves as its executive director, realized the greater need was for support–in North Carolina 7,776 new breast cancer cases are diagnosed every year.
The organization now concentrates on supporting breast cancer patients from diagnosis through survivorship by providing emotional support, educational material, information about lifestyle changes to improve health, support for families and caregivers, and/or financial assistance.
“We provide all the services the medical community doesn’t that gets breast cancer patients through it,” says Kenan. “The oncologist finds the best treatment, but so much happens along with breast cancer and there’s so much more that needs to come into place.”
To learn how Going Beyond the Pink can best help a patient or survivor, Kenan learns each one’s story and their questions and fears. She then identifies the specific resources that will help each client navigate his or her breast cancer journey.
A substantial number of her clients have needed financial assistance, and to date Going Beyond the Pink has provided more than $65,000 in financial aid.
“We’ve never had to turn anyone away who needed financial help,” Kenan says.
Also, through Kenan’s many connections, which include area hospitals, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, American Cancer Society, local yoga and Pilates teachers, and essential oil practitioners, Going Beyond the Pink’s resources range from the emotional to the physical.
Often breast cancer patients can attend classes taught by instructors who know how to work with issues that accompany breast cancer surgery or treatment at no cost. While attending these classes, seminars, or other events pertaining to breast cancer, Going Beyond the Pink’s clients support each other and establish meaningful friendships.
Like other organizations, Going Beyond the Pink has changed its outreach methods to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. Instead of holding breast cancer seminars at churches, community centers, and senior centers, it put its educational materials online. Instead of meeting patients at hospitals, Kenan conducts virtual conferences and wellness meetings. In the future, all Going Beyond the Pink’s services will be offered in person and online.
“Cancer patients often need the human touch, to look someone in the eye during a meeting,” Kenan says. “However, there are also a lot of people who are more comfortable accessing what they need virtually. Having both available is a priority for us.”
In the future, Kenan hopes to expand Going Beyond the Pink’s reach. The organization now serves New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick counties, and she wants Going Beyond the Pink to be available to patients in Columbus County as well.
Kenan says though Going Beyond the Pink has made an incredible impact in the community, its work is far from done.
“I want to make the organization sustainable for the long term,” she says. “I want it to go and on because it is very much needed.”
To donate to or volunteer for Going Beyond the Pink, go to goingbeyondthepink.org/.
To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to terahwilson.com.
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