For several years, the Komen Philadelphia Affiliate Community Grants Program has empowered Practice Without Pressure, Inc. wiht an Education and Support grant for their "Treasure Your Health" initiative, a breast health awareness program developed by Practice Without Pressure for teens and women with disabilities, their families and caregivers.PWP recently shared this story with us to demonstrate how our Komen Philadelphia Affilaite family - driven by your support - is saving lives in our community.
Robin King, age 45, loves drama, music and wrestling. Though she doesn't speak much, she likes to hum and sway to her favorite songs. Not staying still during medical exams is what brought her to Practice Without Pressure. It also helped save her life.
In 2010, Robin participated in PWP's Hands-On Learning Experience (HLE) program. This program, funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure-Philadelphia Affiliate, taught women and teens with disabilities about gynecology exams, breast health and mammograms.
"Before PWP, Robin had difficulty following direction and staying still for mammograms," said Marilyn Wilson, nurse at Community Systems, Inc., the agency that provides residential supports where Robin lives.
Robin's sister, Melissa Ferrier, agreed. "She gets real nervous with people she doesn't know. If she's upset about something, she'll go up and pull their hair because she's upset."
But Robin, who is very perceptive, took the PWP training to heart. Through practice sessions geared specifically to her needs and abilities, Robin learned what to expect during the mammogram and what to anticipate in return. Karen Bashkow, PWP's Senior Programming Director and class instructor, came with Robin to her next mammogram appointment.
Bashkow was a calming presence. "It made something very stressful for Robin much more tolerable," Wilson said.
A subsequent mammogram result came back positive for breast cancer. Last September, Robin had a mastectomy. Within weeks, she was back at work and has made a complete recovery.
Bashkow still accompanies Robin on her mammogram appointments. Said Letitia Meadows, CSI's Program Manager, "Robin recognizes Karen and puts her hand out. Karen always says, 'Hold on. After the procedure.' Robin knows she's going to get something at the end of it." Now, in addition to chocolate, it's a new lease on life.
For Ferrier, her sister's recovery means everything. "I'm glad we didn't lose her. I would have been devastated." Ferrier lost a son in 2011. "If I would have lost Robin, I couldn't have handled the loss of both of them."
Learn more about Practice Without Pressure at www.pwpde.com, you can also learn more abotu Treasure Your Health at PWP's exhibit at the 2012 Special Olympics Delaware Summer Games, June 8 at the University of Delaware.