HERS Breast Cancer Foundation Serves Survivors

HERS Breast Cancer Foundation has the goal of supporting all individuals healing from breast cancer by bringing Hope, Empowerment, Renewal, and Support to patients every day. As a nonprofit, it is unique in the Bay Area because it provides post surgical products and services to breast cancer survivors regardless of financial status and whether or not they have insurance. The foundation provides products and services to patients in need. For patients with insurance, it provides billing services so that they may concentrate on what matters most: their healing process.

The foundation has three assistance programs. The WE Support, YOU Survive program provides support camisoles, pocketed bras, and breast prosthetics.The Lymphedema Project offers compression garments to alleviate the pain, swelling, and other symptoms caused as a side effect of removing lymph nodes during cancer treatment. Hair With Care gives wigs and other head coverings to individuals experiencing hair loss.

"It is our firm belief that patients in need should receive the products and dignity they deserve," says Executive Director Tina Fernandez Steckler. "We are the only nonprofit organization that assists patients in need. Our Program Stores are beautifully decorated and are widely perceived as warm, welcoming spaces that feel safe. Our staff members are kind and compassionate."

Anyone can shop at HERS Program Stores, which also offer protective sun hats, scarves, jewelry, breast-cancer awareness items, and other products. The foundation is accredited by the America Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics. The foundation's certified Breast Care Specialists are extensively trained in both bra and prosthetic fitting services. The foundation has over 21 years of experience supporting breast cancer patients.

Thanks to the Lymphedema Project Assistance Program, a patient recently received two compression sleeves and two gloves. Without the foundation's help, she would have gone without those much-needed items. The $350 cost would have created a serious financial strain for the patient, whose insurance did not cover lymphedema compression garments.

"While the vast majority of our patients are female, we have a small number of patients who are male to whom we provide compression garments to alleviate their lymphedema symptoms of arm and hand swelling," notes Fernandez Steckler.

HERS is especially active during October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime; for men, the rate is 1 in 1,000. October 18 is National Mammography Day, an important reminder for individuals to practice breast self examination as well as to get screened for breast cancer.

HERS expects its stores to see nearly 4,000 patient visits this year. The foundation's store at Hacienda is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 AM to 5 PM. In addition to seeing patients, the foundation provides free outreach presentations to businesses, faith organizations, and health or medical institutions.

The HERS location at Hacienda was established four years ago in partnership with Stanford Health Care - ValleyCare, which donated the space to bring products and services from HERS to residents of the Tri Valley and surrounding communities. HERS was originally founded in Fremont; a third location opened in San Leandro in early 2019.

On Monday, October 21 between 4 and 9 PM, the foundation will hold a Celebrity Bartending Night at Auburn Lounge in Danville. The event is intended to raise awareness of breast cancer as well as raise funds for the foundation. Proceeds will benefit the HERS Assistance Programs. That same date Pleasanton's all-girls soccer club, RAGE, is holding a RAGE Kicks Cancer fundraiser and event to benefit HERS and Culinary Angels. This event will be held from 5 to 7:30 PM at the Patelco Sports Complex in Pleasanton.

For more information about HERS Breast Cancer Foundation, please visit www.hersbreastcancerfoundation.org or call 925-416-6738.

For more information about RAGE Kicks Cancer, please visit www.pleasantonrage.org/event/rage-boards-of-directors-meeting.

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