From OHC, Specialists in the Treatment of Adult Cancers and Blood Disorders

November 3, 2021

“I needed to talk to someone who understood what I was going through. I didn’t want to feel alone anymore.” These are the words of OHC breast cancer patient Cynthia Avalos. At 28 years old she was working as a makeup artist, married to the love of her life, raising two boys, and facing a breast cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, she contacted the Pink Ribbon Girls (PRG) who connected her with a sisterhood of other women fighting cancer.

Surrounding patients with all they need to fight cancer, OHC often connects them with cancer-focused community resource groups, like Pink Ribbon Girls (PRG), to assist with coping and healing. PRG, whose slogan is “No one travels this road alone,” is a nonprofit organization founded by breast cancer survivors that provides healthy meals, rides to treatment, housecleaning services, cancer education, and peer support to breast and gynecological cancer patients and their families. Located in five regions, three of which are in Ohio, PRG strives to balance the fear and uncertainty that breast and gynecological cancer patients and their families can face as they battle the disease.

“Our meal service is very well-received,” said PRG’s Cincinnati Regional Director, Julie Miller. “We deliver meals prepared by Sunbasket to clients’ homes. Families receive three meals a week for each family member, which relieves the stress of the daily grind.”

Julie underscored the importance of the PRG partnership with Uber Health. “It’s critical that every patient has access to the treatment she needs for survivorship,” said Julie. In addition to Uber Health’s transportation services, PRG’s Cincinnati region also employs three cancer survivors to drive clients to treatment. Through September 2021, they have provided 1,578 rides throughout the Tri-State, a 117% increase over 2020.

PRG has not let COVID negatively impact its services. With the health and safety of their clients at the forefront of their minds, they paused scheduling professional housecleaning services, and instead offer “cleaning boxes” containing lightweight vacuums and organic cleaning products delivered to patient homes. They have incorporated more virtual peer support and educational events into their slate of activities, hosting 55 events this year.

Cynthia Avalos, who receives treatment for her stage 2 HER2-positive breast cancer from OHC medical oncologist and hematologist, Prasad R. Kudalkar, MD, says that PRG’s peer support made her “feel like [she] mattered.” “I was fortunate enough to meet some incredible women through PRG. PRG has made me feel like I could possibly make a difference and help other women.”

“PRG services improve the well-being and emotional health of cancer patients,” said Dr. Kudalkar. “This support is critical to healing and may prolong survival.”

PRG’s Director of Education & Peer Support, Jan Middleton, reaches out to community experts to offer patient programs on topics including exercise and finance. “Sometimes we host events designed to help women get their mind off their disease, like our upcoming cookie decorating party (December 7),” said Julie. Through PRG’s mentorship program, they pair newly diagnosed women with mentors of a similar age, cancer type, and cancer stage to compassionately discuss what lies ahead and encourage open and honest conversation.

To request PRG services, patients should speak to their nurse navigator, social worker, or oncologist who will make initial contact with the organization. Visit the PRG website (https://www.pinkribbongirls.org/) for a listing of upcoming events. PRG services are provided free of charge to clients. This is made possible by the generosity of community supporters including individuals, corporations, and grants. To make a contribution, visit their website: https://www.pinkribbongirls.org/donate.

While treating patients’ disease, OHC cancer specialists understand the impact that emotional, mental, and financial stressors can have on healing. For more information on our supportive services and community resources, or to request a second opinion, call 1-888-649-4800 or visit ohcare.com.

Top picture: OHC breast cancer patient and Pink Ribbon Girls client Cynthia Avalos

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