SUPPORTING PATIENTS.FUNDING CARE.PROVIDING HOPE.
With a baby at home the last thing Jennifer Gale ever imagined was a breast cancer diagnosis in her 30s. After finding the lump and seeing her doctor, she entered a whirlwind of testing and planning. Jennifer’s cancer was aggressive and would need a bold treatment plan.
First was four months of chemotherapy, then a lumpectomy, followed by weeks of daily radiation treatment. How was this going to work with her daily commute from the South Shore into Boston? “It was a daunting decision because you don’t know how you will respond to treatment and if you can work or not.” Jennifer decided to take a medical leave of absence from work. With her husband going in for back surgery, it was a 1- 2 punch.
It was at Dana-Farber Cancer Center at South Shore Health, Jennifer connected with a resource specialist in the oncology department who introduced her to Ellie Fund and its services. Needing her mother to drive her to and from chemotherapy and her husband at home unable to care for her daughter, Jennifer asked Ellie Fund for a child-care reimbursement. One day per week her daughter was able to socialize and play at daycare, while Jennifer received treatment. “The childcare help was the missing piece that stitched my treatment planning together.” She also utilized Ellie Fund’s grocery gift card services. “Going to your mailbox and opening grocery gift cards is a feeling of relief I cannot describe,” explained Jennifer.
Young and otherwise healthy, Jennifer responded well to chemotherapy and even went back to work part-time when she could during her treatment. “I was bald, but I felt beautiful.” With an optimistic outlook Jennifer was able to find a silver lining in her breast cancer journey – the extra time she was able to spend with her daughter.
Breast cancer is an emotional rollercoaster. Jennifer felt alone at times. Being young, she didn’t know anyone else that had breast cancer. She found support through a cancer support community group and through Ellie Fund. “Ellie Fund being a local organization is everything. I have a personal connection with the staff. They were able to listen to my needs and accommodate with assistance,” Jennifer said. Healing needs a holistic approach.
Since Jennifer’s recovery, she has stayed in touch with Ellie Fund by volunteering and giving back. She has loved playing golf at the annual Real Golfers Wear Pink Tournament and enjoyed the fancy evening at the annual Red Carpet Gala.