The mission of our Soroptimist International of Ashland (SIA) Health Committee is to prevent and treat major diseases affecting women and girls by making annual donations to a variety of local and international projects. This year we have made a commitment to support a project conceived and initiated by Katelyn Carey, a local registered nurse.

SIA is doing this by providing funds and support for distribution of her beautiful coffee table style photo book entitled "Beauty After Breast Cancer." The book is designed to help women newly diagnosed with breast cancer make informed decisions about their treatment options. Just because we cannot yet prevent breast cancer does not mean we cannot ensure the information we provide to patients is helpful and compassionate.

Three years ago, building on her own experiences as a mastectomy patient, Carey began to work with a team of patients and practitioners to create this unique and inspiring book. The SIA Health Committee sees this book as an invaluable resource for breast cancer patients.

Given current breast cancer rates of one in eight women in the US, we all know someone who is affected. Hearing a diagnosis of breast cancer is frightening. "Beauty After Breast Cancer," a 168-page book, addresses that fear by presenting simple, straightforward information. The book contains the heart-felt personal stories and beautiful professional photographs by Joseph Linaschke of 38 mastectomy patients (including one man), with and without breast reconstruction.

Most importantly, says Carey, “the book presents information in an uplifting and hopeful way with the powerful message: there is life beyond cancer.” 

As Carey began to interview breast cancer patients, she discovered they had similar lists of things they wish they had been told by their doctors and nurses and often spoke of feeling overwhelmed and intimidated by the information they were given. These interviews became the basis for "Beauty After Breast Cancer."

Those who have previewed the book believe it is a resource doctors and nurses need to more effectively inform and support their new breast cancer patients. The next step is to get this inspiring book into the hands of the doctors, nurses, cancer centers and patients who will benefit from it.

You can help by taking one of the following actions: 

1. Go to "Beauty after Breast Cancer" on Facebook to “Like” the page and then share the link with friends. 

2. Go to www.beautyafterbreastcancer.com to preview the book, purchase the book, and/or make a donation to support distribution of the book. 

3. Clip this column and share it with your doctor and/or nurse. 

The Soroptimist Club is proud to support this innovative project and we salute Katelyn Carey, RN, for being living proof of the famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Soroptimist Report appears quarterly in the Tidings.