Included in a recent mailing from Aviva Insurance Company was a flyer with this headline; “We’re donating $1,000,000. Will you donate an idea?” Now that caught my eye! $1,000,000 is nothing to sneeze at!?!?!?! So I read on; “If you’ve got a great idea to create positive change but don’t know how to make it happen, the Aviva Community Fund is here for you. To submit your idea and start making a difference in your community, visit http://www.AvivaCommunityFund.org.” So I did and as a result I submitted a proposal to distribute the Hastings Breast Cancer Support Group’s Voices of Hope DVD series to hospitals and breast care clinics in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba.
As a Bush Leadership Fellow for 2011 – 2014 and a breast cancer survivor myself of 8 1/2 years, creating a positive change and making a difference in the lives of the women and men in the breast cancer survivor community has been my mission. The Hastings Breast Cancer Support Group shares this mission with me. As survivors, we realized how important it was for us to have the support of others who had already been there traveling with us as we moved through our own journey.
In 2010, we took on a bold challenge to create a virtual support group via a DVD entitled Voices of Hope. The idea was to reach patients immediately after diagnosis—a time few seek a support group—with personal stories on screen from survivors from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences with breast cancer. The purpose was to help patients navigate the early weeks of breast cancer treatment with much greater calm, hope and empowerment. Recalling my own ignorance and fear about how my body would look after surgery, I, and the other interview subjects chose to reveal and narrate our post-surgery scars onscreen, as a special feature of the DVD. To make certain that the documentary reflected the dignity and significance of the subject matter, we recruited a professional film crew, so the DVD would be of the highest quality, both visually and in the skill of the storytelling. And, to make certain the DVD would get into the hands of newly diagnosed patients, we reached out to physicians and cancer care coordinators across the state as project advisers. These clinicians have, in great numbers, adopted the DVD as an essential part of the packet given to newly diagnosed patients. The response to the piece has been highly positive. Nearly 6000 copies of the Voices of Hope DVD are in circulation with the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins Breast Centers using it with their new breast cancer patients.
2012 found the Hastings Breast Cancer Support Group, Circle in the Field Media, and Diane Davies creating the second documentary, Voices of Hope: Family and Friends, to be packaged with Voices of Hope, and given free of charge to new patients at the time of diagnosis, via our every increasing network of physicians and cancer care coordinators. This project was undertaken in response to urgent requests to portray the stories, struggles and insights of the spouses, family members and friends who’ve supported a loved one through breast cancer. Loved ones often have no idea how to help, what to say, and how to calm their own fears. Family and friends, overwhelmed by fear and grief, sometimes distance or even abandon a loved one undergoing breast cancer treatment. Yet many survivors and their families look back on the breast cancer journey as a time when they clarified their values and deepened their love.
Through the help of Regina Medical Foundation, River Falls Area Hospital Foundation, Join the Journey, and the Bush Leadership Foundation along with many individual supporters and donors, we’ve been able to raise the dollars necessary to create the two DVDs. Our goal is to be able to put them into the hands of the newly diagnosed and their caregivers without cost to them. The hospitals and breast care clinics are being asked to pay $2.00/DVD set and to cover the cost of shipping so that we can continue to have the DVDs reproduced and packaged and delivered to them for distribution to their patients at the time of need.
Here is where the idea for the Aviva Community Fund comes in to help with the distribution of the Voices of Hope DVD Series in Canada.
Please follow this link to the Aviva Community Fund;
Then search for Hastings Breast Cancer Support Group, #ACF16641. View a three minute trailer of the second DVD in the series. Read all about the distribution idea then VOTE daily for the Hastings Breast Cancer Support Group. Thanks so much. Together we truly can make a difference.