From Dr. Nan Van Den Bergh, clinical professor, School of Social Work
Florida International University:
Lesbian, bisexual, and transgender females can face more cancer risks and barriers to quality care than other women. Research has shown that such women may be more dissatisfied with their cancer care providers and the services they are offered, than other women. Many LBT women face treatment for cancer without assistance from family, and rely upon friends to offer support. Surviving cancer can become overwhelming, and lonely; particularly for those who are not partnered. Being able to talk with another LBT woman who has been navigating the “survivorship trail” can be reassuring and helpful. Thus, the purpose of the Rainbow Survivor’s Network is to connect a newly diagnosed LBT woman with a “rainbow buddy.” The buddy is someone who has some cancer survivorship experience “under her belt” and can offer experience, strength and hope for a woman new to that journey.
ARROW Inc. seeks LBT women with who have completed their cancer treatment and would be willing to serve as a mutual aid and peer support “mentor” to a newly diagnosed woman. As a “ buddy” she would be available to share her experiences in managing the various aspects of treatment, and her survivorship. The “buddy” and newly diagnosed woman would meet on their own time, at a location of their choice. The duration of their “buddy” connection and how often they would meet is solely determined by both women. There is no expectation as to the length of time that would be required for a “buddy” in her peer support role. “Buddys” will be offered training on the “ how to’s” of being an effective buddy, as well as “do’s and don’t’s” of offering peer support .
ARROW Inc. is a Florida nonprofit organization, which has as its exclusive mission: advocacy for access to quality health care for LBT women. To achieve that goal, ARROW offers training to health care providers in principles and practices of cultural competence when serving LBT females. In addition, ARROW undertakes community-based health promotion education outreach to LBT women so as to assist in reducing their risks and barriers to quality care.
For more information about the Rainbow Survivor’s Network and ARROW Inc., call 305-892-0928 or 954-981-1090. Additional information about ARROW Inc. can be obtained from: www.arrowlbt.org
If you go
Who: ARROW, Inc. (Area Resource and Referral Organization for Women)
What: Mutual Aid and Peer Support Network for LBT Women Surviving Cancer: Introductory Meeting
When: Monday October 7
Where: Memorial Regional Hospital South, Community Conference Room, 3600 Washington St., Hollywood Fl., 33021