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Group to help breast cancer survivors
Physicians, community offer monthly support meeting in Statesboro
Bisseck Board Web
The Board of Directors of the Statesboro Buloch County Breast Cancer Foundation, from left, clockwise: Colleen Patterson, Amanda Burkhalter, April R. Stafford, Christa Timms, Jennifer Nunn, Jacob Warren, Charles E. Patterson, Bryant Smalley, Spencer Thomas, Patrick Patterson, Christy Hulsey, Susan Jackson and Marc Bisseck. - photo by Special

Kimberly “Racy” Klein knows all too well the devastation of breast cancer, losing her mother to the disease at age 51. 
The story doesn’t end there. In May, Kimberly found a lump in a self-examination. She moved quickly and doctors found a large mass. Her biopsy reported stage one cancer, which required a double mastectomy and being treated for the next five years with a low dosage of chemotherapy.
 “It all happened so fast I was miserable and totally depressed,” Klein said. “I cried for days and was in total denial until after the surgery. Although the disease runs in my family, I never thought it would happen to me.”
Klein is one of 200,000 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year in the United States.
The staggering numbers and the need for emotional support were the impetus for the recent creation of the Statesboro Bulloch County Breast Cancer Foundation by Marc E. Bisseck, MD. 
The idea of a support group began fermenting in 2008 when Dr. Bisseck opened his plastic surgery practice in Statesboro. 
“Over and over, I had patients who would cry in my office and tell me of their need to talk to other patients,” Bisseck said. “They all had so many questions…’Am I doing the right thing?’  ‘What is chemo going to be like?’ On each occasion, I knew those needs were truly justified.”
So, Dr. Bisseck took action and gained support from colleagues and friends. Since forming the foundation in July, he said there has been an outpouring of support from the community. 
Attorney April Stafford is the co-founder of the board.
“This is important because I have so many friends and mothers of friends who have battled breast cancer,” she said. “In just a few months, we have gone from a two-person discussion to a 14-member board comprised of breast cancer survivors, clinical psychologists, researchers, surgeons, oncologists, radiologists and dieticians in our community.”
Four women are volunteering to facilitate the support groups.
Jennifer Nunn, whose mother was diagnosed in 2010 with breast cancer, is one of the leaders of the group. Her mother went through a double mastectomy and Jennifer was her primary caregiver. 
“The experience gave me insight into how hard this is on family and loved ones,” she said. “I work full time and have a child and as I tried to care for mother I was not prepared for the emotional and physical challenges.”
According to Nunn, the whole concept behind the support group for women who are battling cancer is providing resources. 
“Our cancer survivors don’t have to travel to Savannah because we have phenomenal care now available here in Statesboro,” she said. 
Stafford said patients need someone who has been there and someone to help validate they are making the right decisions.
Although Klein is one of the lucky ones who found her breast cancer early, she has needed emotional support. 
“It’s traumatic to lose your breasts,” Klein said. “What I needed were fellow survivors who could relate to me and tell me I would make it and what I was feeling was normal.”
Bisseck hopes Klein and others will benefit from the newly established regional resource for patients and families impacted by breast cancer. The Foundation will offer educational outreach, patient counseling and professional medical services supporting breast health. 
The Statesboro Bulloch County Breast Cancer Foundation support group meets the second Monday of each month from 6-7 PM in the Averitt Center for the Arts in downtown Statesboro, Georgia.
To learn more about The Statesboro Bulloch County Breast Cancer Foundation and events planned for Breast Cancer Awareness month go to statesboropinkpower.com

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