Hope Lives Ambassadors
Hope Lives invites people who are dealing with breast cancer and either are or have been in active treatment to become ambassadors. As an ambassador, they speak to the community about Hope Lives, share their personal story, and share how Hope Lives services and care have enhanced their lives while going through treatment.
April Van Buskirk
Age of Diagnosis: 45 Stage: 2
After what I thought would be a routine mammogram, I was diagnosed with aggressive stage 1 breast cancer on August 13, 2018 at age 44. When the nurse told me I had cancer, it felt like an out of body experience - as if I was watching this news being delivered to someone other than myself.
Things moved very quickly from there, and I was rushed into a foreign world and an unknown subculture created by cancer’s affliction. From diagnosis to surgery to recovery, chemotherapy and surgery again – cancer has been a lifestyle for 8 months.
There was a pamphlet about Hope Lives in the information from my doctors. Leah was the first person I met here, and she was so healthy, joyful, and warm; she was and continues to be an inspiration. Cancer is an expensive disease and I couldn’t work during treatment, so I was fraught with gratitude every time I used a voucher.
Hope Lives allowed me to alleviate symptoms through acupuncture, celebrate small successes with facials and look upon a hairless face to see some semblance of normalcy through my microbladed eyebrows.
Cancer is a club that no one wants to join; the dues are devastating, and membership lasts a lifetime because of how it changes a person. My journey (with support from my family, other patients, survivors and services like Hope Lives) led me to daily joy and eternal gratitude.