HERS Breast Cancer Foundation
November 2017 Newsletter

Giving Thanks,
Counting Blessings

Fall leaves and pumpkins

As our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving, we find ourselves full of gratitude. October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and our supporters celebrated it to the utmost. Our warmest thanks to all who hosted events and fundraisers, or dedicated a portion of their proceeds to benefit HERS programs. It was one of our busiest, most rewarding BCAMs ever! Our staff and volunteers worked extra hard to prepare for and attend events all over the Bay Area, and everywhere we went we were welcomed with open arms and generous hearts. 

Our staff have come up with a wonderful way to give back. They have volunteered to go to Santa Rosa to assist breast cancer survivors affected by recent fires by providing free, expert fittings of bras and prostheses. You can help by donating clean, "like new" bras and prostheses to the Fremont store. You could also purchase products at the store or call the store to make a special donation over the phone ( 510-790-1911). 

The free fitting event will be held November 19 at Peltz and Associates Physical Therapy, Inc. in Santa Rosa. Please call the Fremont store for more details. 

We can't say it enough, we are blessed by a very generous and engaged community. It means the world to us -- and to the breast cancer survivors who find Hope, Empowerment, Renewal, and Support at HERS Breast Cancer Foundation.
Exciting News! 
HERS Has a New Executive Director

Please join us in welcoming Tina Fernandez Steckler as the new Executive  Director of HERS Breast Cancer Foundation! Her first official day at HERS is November 14. We look forward to working with her and being inspired by her leadership and community building talent.

Tina is a Bay Area native and has resided in Fremont since 1991.
Beginning in 2010, she filled several roles at Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments (SAVE), a nonprofit organization in Fremont that supports domestic violence survivors. At SAVE, she progressed from volunteer to Development Assistant and eventually to Director of Development. As a Director, Tina oversaw fundraising, donor relations, and marketing communications among her many duties.

After earning a BA in English Literature from Cal State Hayward (now CSUEB) and a Paralegal Certificate from St. Mary's College, Tina spent three years at the law firm of Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati. She left to raise her two children.

Tina volunteered for many years at her children's schools and completed numerous courses at Ohlone College for education and enrichment. She completed the Fremont Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program in 2013 and will soon become a member of both the Niles Rotary Club and AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) Silicon Valley. She is a former member of Soroptimist International of Fremont. She currently supports several local nonprofit organizations.

Tina is a proud mom of her adult children - her daughter Julia, a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marines, and her son Jacob, a Young Adult Program student. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Craig Steckler and their dogs, friends and family. She loves visiting Hawaii. In her rare free time, she tackles the Sunday NY Times crossword puzzle (as a testament to her optimism, she hopes to someday complete one). 

Tina is very excited about the opportunity to join the HERS team. As she told us: 

I already feel so warmly welcomed by HERS staff, Board, and volunteers. I know I have big shoes to fill with the departure of former Executive Director Vera Packard. I am eager to support a community organization that strives to provide comfort and empowerment to survivors. I look forward to representing HERS in its service communities, strengthening donor relations and fundraising, and supporting the clients, staff, and volunteers. 

Tina can be reached at tina@hersbreastcancerfoundation.org.
A Client's Story: Joan Bobrink

Joan has been a loyal client and supporter of HERS for many years. She graciously agreed to share the story of how she came to know about HERS and how the staff have become an important part of her healing. Her story starts in 2012:

I had heard about HERS from a friend, Judy Cooper, who was volunteering there. I was not yet diagnosed. She was telling another friend of ours that HERS was looking for a breast care specialist. Our friend, Pam Condy, interviewed for the job and was soon employed by HERS.

Photo of client Joan Bobrink
Joan celebrated the end of her treatment in 2013 by going on 
a bike trip through France with her friends.  

In July of 2012 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Once I had chosen an oncologist and surgeons I was introduced to Laura Constantine, a Breast Health Navigator (and friend of HERS), who told me what I would be going through in my treatment.

I made the decision to have a bilateral mastectomy. I would be having chemo first to pull the tumor away from the breast wall and then I would have surgery. I learned that I would need surgical garments, which took me to HERS as a client.

I timidly went into HERS to see what it was all about and to talk to my friends there. I was introduced to Polly Sherman, who fitted me into a surgical garment I would wear after surgery; it had pockets for the drains I would leave the hospital with.  This is where the true value of HERS comes in. It was obvious that I was scared to death. Polly was so understanding of my nervousness, as was everyone who saw me that day. Everyone wished me good luck and told me to stop in anytime even if just to say hi.

Between August and December I began stopping into HERS before my chemo treatments and visits to my oncologist "just to say hi". They always had a smile and friendly greeting for me. When my hair began falling out, they always told me I looked beautiful. No matter how I felt, I could stop in just for a hug and a chat. They always wanted to know how I was doing. 

Once I had healed from surgery, I was now ready to get my prosthetic breasts. Again I went to HERS feeling timid, not knowing what to expect or how I would feel once faced with the realization of how different my body looked. Would I be embarrassed to have someone looking at me uncovering my breastless chest? What would the conversation be? Would my emotions hold up?

Polly Sherman greeted me with a big smile and offered great support in the fitting. She made sure I was comfortable and spent plenty of time to make sure I was comfortable with the fit and size of my new breasts. We even had a few laughs during the fitting. I left feeling uplifted and very positive about how I looked.

The people at HERS have become friends. I feel comfortable stopping in anytime to say hi and they always make me feel welcome. I have supported several of their walks and fund raising events.  There is always a feeling a great support and love in the group.

I have been a breast care client since 2012 and now I am also fitted at HERS for my compression sleeves for lymphedema.

The people at HERS are friends and they keep my on a healthy and feel-good path.
Staff Spotlight: Carlie Lozano

Photo of Carlie, HERS staff
Carlie works at the Fremont store, serving clients and helping wherever she's needed. Even though she is busy with work, breast care specialist training, and college courses, she took the time to talk to us about her experience working at HERS. She tells the story so well, we're sharing it here, in her own words:

I've had the pleasure of working at HERS for a little over a year now. In hopes to put my foot in the door in the medical field, I applied for a clerk position in another unit at Washington Hospital. Although I didn't have enough experience for that position, the manager of the unit referred me to HERS. I had no idea what this foundation was or what I was getting myself into. 

Crossing paths with HERS has been one of my biggest blessings. I am so thankful to be working with such caring and loving people with a purpose. It makes me even more eager to pursue a career in the medical field. I started training and getting the hang of things at the Fremont location. Soon after, I switched between the Stanford location and Fremont. Now I am usually at Fremont, and I go to Valley Care when help is needed.
 
I am a breast care fitter, soon to be certified. I see patients and fit them for bras and prostheses and also help around the office. I believe the wonderful ladies at HERS are so well rounded that we do not just have one specific job description. We do what we all specialize in, while helping each other out as much as we can.
 
I am currently a student at Foothill College. I aspire to be a pediatric nurse. I am applying to universities to acquire a health science bachelor's degree, then I hope to continue my education by obtaining a master's in nursing. 

For about four years, I taught color guard to elementary and middle schoolers in the New Haven Unified School District. I strongly believe in doing what you love and the rest will follow. 

I have a loving puppy named Jax. My parents, sister, and I are very close. They are the strongest support system I have, and the foundation for any accomplishment I have made and will make in my life.
 
Working at HERS has changed my life. Through working for this foundation, I have interacted with such passionate and caring people. I love listening to the stories and wisdom my patients have to offer. Each day I work, I take home a lesson and another thing to be thankful for. 

The ladies at HERS are more than just colleagues, I consider us family. We look out for each other and we show genuine and unconditional love. With the respect and care that we show for each other, it helps maximize the service and hospitality we show to all the breast cancer survivors that we help. Everything that this staff does, is for the beautiful women we serve. I am so honored to be a part of this foundation and to do my part in fulfilling our mission. 

HERS Breast Cancer Foundation

Fremont   *   Pleasanton

(510) 790-1911  

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