#IBWSUPPORTS: ABCD BREAST CANCER MENTOR BETH GRAMZ
At The Institute of Beauty and Wellness, we value the importance of community support and engagement. With a diagnosis rate of 1 in 8 women, many of us know of someone who currently has or has had a breast cancer diagnosis. The impact of this news expands far and wide and many feel the emotional impact that this diagnosis leaves behind. Often, loved ones, friends, family members, coworkers, and more, feel a range of emotions while trying to search for ways that they can help.
After Breast Cancer Diagnosis (ABCD) Organization works incredibly hard to provide support to those impacted from breast cancer diagnosis. One of their many resources includes a mentorship program to help connect a patient or loved one with a mentor who has been through the journey themselves. This mentorship program is extremely individual because all ABCD mentors are breast cancer survivors and have all experienced their own breast cancer journey. They are able to provide support and care from the perspective of having gone through their own personal journey which allows for an incredibly special and personal relationship for those who are seeking support.
The Institute of Beauty and Wellness recently sat down with ABCD Mentor, Beth Gramz, to speak about her journey, her mission as a mentor, and the best ways to get involved. Regardless of if you or someone you know is in need of help or looking to provide support—ABCD is a great resource to use. For more information about their mentorship program or how to get involved, you are encouraged to visit ABCD’s website to learn more.
Q: Can You Provide Us with a Brief Introduction About Yourself and Your Role with ABCD?
“My name is Beth Gramz, I am a mentor for ABCD and have been since 2020.”
Q: How Did You Hear About ABCD?
“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018, my nurse navigator at the time had given me a pamphlet along with a giant pile of other things to read about my diagnosis. Among those things was a pamphlet from ABCD. I went online and looked into it and applied to be a participant to receive my own mentor. Throughout my breast cancer journey, I had a mentor named MaryAnn who was amazing and helped me in more ways than I can even begin to explain. She was really the influence that made me apply once I was eligible to become a mentor myself.”
Q: What Is a Mentor at ABCD?
“A mentor is someone who has already gone through breast cancer and breast cancer treatment. We are there as a support system for people who are currently going through or have already gone through breast cancer treatments. I am a breast cancer survivor who now mentors other women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.”
Q: As a Mentor, What Kind of Training Do You Go Through to Support Someone Who Is Going Through a Similar Journey?
“ABCD offers mentor classes that goes over a period of a few days. During this training, they prepare you for anything and everything. ABCD does all the training themselves to bring their mentors guidance, resources, and everything else that is needed to best support the breast cancer patients they are supporting.”
Q: If and How Has Your Experience as a Mentee Differed from Your Experience as a Mentor?
“It is definitely a different experience being on the other end. When I was first diagnosed, my first instincts were fear and anger. As a mentor, I have that understanding of all those feelings and mixed emotions that these people are going through. That is the thing about mentors, we have that unique position of knowing exactly what someone is going through. My mentor was there for me when I was feeling all those emotions and now, I am there for the people that I mentor for.”
Q: What Makes the Partnership Between Those That Are Undergoing Treatment and Those That Are Breast Cancer Survivors? What Is It to Have a Mentor-Mentee Relationship?
“I had a mentor myself, and basically it is someone who understands what you are going through. It is really the core of this process. We offer that sound board, we have already been through it all, and we understand. When you are going through breast cancer, a lot of people want to help you and support you, but no one exactly understands what you are going through. ABCD and the mentors offer that person who is there to give you the support that no one else really can.”
Q: How Do Donations Impact the ABCD Organization and Mentors?
“ABCD is nonprofit. It does not cost anything for someone who has been diagnosed to reach out to ABCD to get a mentor. Donating to ABCD really helps to support training and everything needed to support breast cancer patients free of charge. Donations help to ensure that these services remain free, and it helps to ensure that we can keep providing the same presence and support to breast cancer patients.”
Q: What Are Some Additional Resources That ABCD Provides Aside from the Mentor/Mentee Program?
“They actually support family members, too. Rather than just the breast cancer patient, they also support family members in need. So, husbands, children, and really anyone, anywhere. ABCD is located here in Milwaukee, but we mostly mentor on the phone, so it is available to anyone around the world.”
Q: WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE LOOKING TO SUPPORT SOMEONE THEY CARE ABOUT THAT HAS RECENTLY BEEN DIAGNOSED?
“My biggest suggestion would be if you know of someone who was just diagnosed, do not ask them for what they need, just offer what you can. This could be purchasing a gift card for food, taking their children to places they need to be, or even driving them to appointments. It is really difficult when you are going through cancer to think clearly and figure out what exactly you need. So, as someone who wants to support a person who was diagnosed, the best thing that you can do is say ‘hey, I can do this for you, do you want me to?’”
Q: What Advice Can You Give to Students Interested in Fundraising or Supporting Future Guests Who Are Impacted from Breast Cancer?
“The biggest advice I can give to those working within this industry would be to have empathy and patience. We are self-conscious from the start of treatment, all the way through, and post treatment. Empathy is most important. Our bodies have basically betrayed us, and we are doing our best to take care of them.“
How You Can Support:
We are so thankful for Beth taking the time to speak with us and share more information about ABCD, her journey, and how we can better support those in need. We encourage anyone who has been impacted by breast cancer to reach out to ABCD to get the support they need. At the Institute of Beauty and Wellness, we offer fundraising events throughout the month of October in which 100% of donations will be given to ABCD to support their fight against breast cancer. For more information on how you can become involved, click learn more below.