I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb
Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website
each week and be added to the archives.
The Articles started December 2007.
If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates
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Breast cancer support group says farewell
By Barry Schrader.................................June
Karen had surgery some 35 years ago to remove the
cancerous tissue from her body and went into remission, but then
in 2006 she contracted the esophageal cancer that took her life.
One of her support group co-founders, Penny Rosenow, spoke of
the compassion, the concern and the care that Karen expressed
to others during the most difficult time in their lives.
Were glad to see you, but were sorry that
you are here was the greeting offered by Karen Klein to
each new breast cancer patient who chose to seek comfort by attending
the breast cancer support group in DeKalb County she and a few
others started in 1993.
Monday night will be the
last time that greeting will be heard as the group renamed
the Karen Klein Breast Cancer Survivors Support Group after her
death in 2006 is disbanding. A dwindling membership and
expanding resources for breast cancer patients online and through
medical facilities is the reason, according to longtime member
Floann Hamilton. She said nearly 100 women have attended their
informal meetings over the years, many after having surgery to
eliminate the cancer. But after a while they went on their way,
returning to a normal life with their families and friends.
During the nearly two decades of getting together
to offer one another support and share their life experiences,
always in confidence, many survivors found solace and hope talking
to other women who had fought the same fight and came through
it, willing to help others do the same.
Karen Klein, Founder of the Breast Cancer Survivors Support
Group in DeKalb
Back when Karen had breast cancer, people didnt
talk much about it, so many women went through the fear and neuroses
that accompany a breast cancer diagnosis alone, she said.
Karen heard about a support group of women in New Jersey, Rosenow
said, and called to get details how one could be formed here.
The first gathering was in Karens home, then as the group
grew, they moved to the First Congregational United Church of
Christ on North First Street in DeKalb. It has continued at that
location to this day. Other early members, such as Isabel Cash
and Sue Rozycki, remained involved for many years and others,
like Floann, Penny and Ellyn Jacobsen, continued to provide the
leadership to keep it going.
Floann said it was
a group decision to disband and a letter to former participants
is being sent out this month informing them of the final meeting.
This weekend, Friday and Saturday, the American
Cancer Society Relay for Life event will be held in Sycamore,
something many of the breast cancer survivors take part in each
It has a very personal meaning for me and
my wife, Kay, who are both cancer survivors. When in California
each June, we take part in the Livermore Relays Survivors
Lap around the football field track, along with a hundred or
more friends and fellow cancer fighters, who share a common thread
in our lives.
The columnist can be reached via email at :
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PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115