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Betsy Brandt-Kreutz

The Breast Cancer Resource Center is a place to ask your questions, explore the options, and connect with a diverse community of survivors, lifers, and thrivers who can relate in a way no one else can.

Through generous community support, all programs and services are offered free of charge.


BCRC has been the best navigational tool. They’ve provided me with support and the right resources to guide my questions, with the added benefit of meeting so many cool people who are now my friends.
Shondi Pugh

Karyn Couvillion

Marjorie Gallece

Elaine Gonzales

Amanda Johnson



History of BCRC

Twenty years ago, a woman with breast cancer had very little help available to her in Central Texas. There was no one to help her cope with the fact she had cancer. No one to provide proof she too could get through the experience.

From within this reality, two women in the midst of treatment formed a bond through their shared experience. Their names were Ann and Sherry.


Through it all, our goal has remained the same - help women with breast cancer chart a course and find their way forward - in the way that’s right for them.

Soon it became undeniable - having the support of someone who understood what they were going though was huge. And, they wanted to provide what they had found to others.

In 1995, these women teamed up with several others (two nurses and a social worker among them) and founded the Breast Cancer Resource Center. They had a helpline and a support group. They formed a “database” of survivors who could provide encouragement to other women. Training was simple and focused on how to be a good listener, how to provide understanding, and how to communicate hope.

In the years since, BCRC has become much more than a volunteer helpline.

Today, in addition to being survivors, BCRC staff are trained professionals and experts in where to go, what to do next, and how to keep moving forward.


“I took my volunteer calls very seriously. I would go into my room, shut the door, and take several deep breaths before I dialed the number. I wanted very badly to be my ‘best self’ for the woman on the other end of that phone because I knew one thing for sure: the woman I was about to call was in crisis.”
- Ray Anne Evans, Executive Director, former volunteer, and 18-year Survivor.

History

Twenty years ago, a woman with breast cancer had very little help available to her in Central Texas. There was no one to help her cope with the fact she had cancer. No one to provide proof she too could get through the experience.

From within this reality, two women in the midst of treatment formed a bond through their shared experience. Their names were Ann and Sherry. Soon it became undeniable - having the support of someone who understood what they were going though was huge. And, they wanted to provide what they had found to others.

In 1995, these women teamed up with several others (two nurses and a social worker among them) and founded the Breast Cancer Resource Center. They had a helpline and a support group. They formed a “database” of survivors who could provide encouragement to other women. Training was simple and focused on how to be a good listener, how to provide understanding, and how to communicate hope.

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The Breast Cancer Resource Center is a place to ask your questions, explore the options, and connect with a diverse community of survivors, lifers, and thrivers who can relate in a way no one else can.

Through generous community support, all programs and services are offered free of charge.

Breast Cancer Resource Centers (BCRC) of Texas is a centralized source of information, education and support that empowers those affected by breast cancer to navigate through diagnosis, treatment, recovery and beyond as active, knowledgeable participants in their healthcare.

Staffed by breast cancer survivors, BCRC strives to reduce mortality rates by assisting Central Texans diagnosed with breast cancer as they confront obstacles that stand in the way of their treatment or affect their quality of life. We help eliminate barriers related to insurance, employment, family relationships, inability to pay for services, and end-of-life decisions.

Our Certified Patient Navigators will work with you directly, providing practical guidance to help replace fear, anxiety and doubt with information, options and hope.

Our programs include individualized patient navigation, face-to-face support group meetings, online forums, educational seminars, and special events.

Whatever your circumstances, our services are provided free of charge to anyone affected by breast cancer regardless of income, ethnicity, level of education, or social support.

With information that empowers, a community that understands, and help where and how its needed most, BCRC believes no one should face breast cancer alone.

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In Treatment

From the moment you receive a diagnosis to your last day of treatment,

there are so many decisions to make and situations to face. Sorting out your emotions, your family's role, your financial landscape. That's why BCRC services support-and extend beyond-clinical treatment. Our Certified Patient Navigators know what it's like to deal with insurance. To get an infusion. To shop for a wig. Are they in your shoes? No. But they have been there before.

After Treatment

The treatment is over. Life goes on.

But it will never be the same. So what happens now? When can you hit the gym? Will you ever want sex again? How do you cope with the debilitating panic of follow-ups? At BCRC, we know that while completing treatment is its own reward, it's a silver lining attached to a very large cloud. Our Certified Patient Navigators are there to help. Offering guidance and support when other people might think your life has "returned to normal."
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Living with Cancer

For you, the journey will never be over.

It's a fact, you're living with it, but every day is a challenge. Eating healthy. Scrutinizing your body. Planning-and preparing-for the future. For those with long-term metastatic disease, BCRC offers something many can't find anywhere else. An empathetic, cathartic, and yet, realistic ear through the IV League and Lotus Fourum (L4) support groups.

Caregivers, Family Members, and Friends

You're their support. Very rarely does a breast cancer diagnosis only affect one person.

In fact, almost every BCRC client has loved ones, family members and close friends who travel with them on this journey. And while it may not be physically happening to you, you live with physical, mental and emotional effects, too. With programs designed to help you understand the diagnosis, the ways in which you can best provide support, and how to plan for the future, BCRC is there for you as well.
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In 1993, several women channeled their personal experience with breast cancer into the first support group in Austin. Confronted with crisis, these women came together in the Women's Resource Center of St. David's Hospital to meld their respective knowledge and insight, and lighten the burden of this devastating disease.

By the end of the second meeting, the founding members - Sherry Smith, Anne Lawlor, Carol Wilson, Lara Balla RN, Sarah Janosik LCSW, Doris Coward PhD, RN and Merily Keller - understood this experience was too valuable, and the benefits too rich, to keep to themselves. Fully grasping the importance of being an active participant in their own healthcare, they sought to empower others - and BCRC was born.

What began as a volunteer organization has become a staff of 12 professionals including 6 patient navigators certified at the renowned Harold P. Freeman Institute, and who are well-versed in local, regional and national resources, and who participate in extensive ongoing training.

What began as a single, generalized support group has grown into 11 specialized groups including those for newly diagnosed, Spanish speakers, women of child bearing age, and women with metastatic disease. Office space remains generously donated and has expanded from one to five locations co-located in 5 area hospitals. All services remain free of charge for the client.

Looking forward, BCRC seeks to extend its reach to meet the growing complexity of needs and expand our service delivery area to better meet the multi-faceted needs of minority, low-income, uninsured, and medically underserved women in Central Texas. We further seek to expand the services we offer to caregivers and loved ones.

This means hiring additional patient navigators, training more volunteers through the As Sisters program to augment patient navigation, and growing our financial base to ensure our ability to respond to requests for assistance. As it has for more than a decade and a half, BCRC will continue to exist so no one has to face breast cancer alone.


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