Monthly Archives: October 2016

Pay It Forward: Help Us Support Future Cancer Patients & Caregivers

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MyLifeLine.org Cancer Foundation has been connecting cancer patients and caregivers to their community of family and friends for support since 2007. We’re proud to have helped over 151,000 cancer patients, caregivers and family and friends give and receive support during the past 9 years and we are asking you to join our Pay It Forward campaign to continue to support all people impacted by a cancer diagnosis.

We exist today because generous patients, caregivers and their support communities have recognized the value of MyLifeLine.org and wanted future cancer patients to have the same support. We are asking for your help to ensure that all cancer patients feel supported.

You can make a big impact by Paying It Forward:

$35      Connects 1 Guest to a Patient Website with New Features in 2017
$50      Gives 1 Cancer Patient a Website to their Support Community for 1 Month
$160    Provides MyLifeLine’s Materials in 5 Cancer Centers
$322    Develops New Programs & Cancer Specific Resources for Patients & Caregivers

Your gift will help patients like Paige, who used MyLifeLine.org as a voice during her battle with Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

“MyLifeLine.org was a lifeline for me during my journey; it was my connection to the world, my connection to my own self, and a place where I could be encouraged by others.” – Paige, MyLifeLine.org member

Will you Pay It Forward and help us support cancer patients and caregivers in 2017? Click here to join the Pay It Forward movement.

How my dog’s cancer inspired me after my breast cancer diagnosis

This is a guest blog post by Petrina DiOrio, owner of Brewscuits, a natural dog biscuit company. Brewscuits will be donating $1 per bag purchased online from now to the end of the year to MyLifeLine.

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When I heard the words, “Your dog has cancer,” I was devastated. It’s Osteosarcoma, one of the worst kinds. When the same words came later to reference me, “You have breast cancer,” somehow I felt okay and prepared to face my journey because of the courage and strength that I learned from my dog, Chessie, when she went through her journey with cancer.

Chessie was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever that I rescued from a family who had four children and could no longer afford to properly take care of her. I adopted Chessie when she was four years old and had many wonderful years with her. Her cancer started when she was 10 and the vet told us to amputate her front right leg, but at that point but the sarcoma was actually way up in her shoulder. We didn’t think amputating the leg would do much to solve the problem. Treating her with chemotherapy and radiation seemed unfair to her at her age. We wanted her to continue to live and hike and play as long as she possibly could and not be in and out of the hospital for treatments all the time. So live and hike and play we did and boy did we have fun. Annual trips to Maine hiking in the dense woods. A trip to Cape Cod to play on the beach and in the ocean. Camping, swimming, running, playing ball. You name it; we did it.

Chessie lived an abundant, fun-filled, loving life her last year. And finally, at the age of 11, she let us know it was time. As the vet administered that last lethal dose of love to help Chessie finally be out of pain and cross the rainbow bridge to be with all of her other playmates and family, I let her go of her physical body but her spirit is always with me. Somehow Chessie’s courage and determination and trust in me that I would do what was best for her helped me with my own diagnosis.

When the doctor told me I had cancer I looked at him and said, “OK then, what’s next? What do we do from here?” His response was to schedule surgery and go from there. Within two weeks surgery was scheduled and I underwent a radical double mastectomy. My sentinel nodes came back clean, so there were no lymph node issues, which was great news. I opted for the double mastectomy since breast cancer runs in my family. My grandmother and both of her sisters on my mom’s side all had breast cancer. Rather than a lumpectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation, I opted for the double mastectomy. Now five years and seven months later I am cancer free and I am in perfect health and living an awesome life. I married the love of my life and we have been together for almost 17 years now. We foster, rescue and take care of military family dogs when soldiers are deployed. We have an awesome all natural dog biscuit company called “Brewscuits.” Life really could not be much better.

Since Chessie passed away in 2004, we have had many more fosters and rescues come into our home. One of our current rescues, Tiki, helped inspire Brewscuits. Brewscuits are a hand-made, all-natural dog biscuit using the grain from the beer brewing process. We are homebrewers making our own beer in the comfort of our home and put our grain on our picnic table after brewing our latest and greatest brew. We let the dogs out and Tiki climbed on the table, stole the grain and shared it with his brothers and sisters. After some research we found that the grains were good for our dogs and we started making beer grain dog biscuits.

We upcycle a product that would normally be waste and create a treat for our dogs that is actually nutritious. Our biscuits contain barley, oats and rye which are grains our dogs should have in their diet to aid in their digestion. We use no corn or soy which our dogs cannot digest. We also use no salt, sugar, chemicals or preservatives. Our biscuits contain only a few simple ingredients – the spent grain (barley, oats, rye), flour, egg, and either peanut butter, pumpkin or sweet potato. For more information, go to www.brewscuit.com.

I’ve been given this wonderful opportunity to partner with MyLifeLine.org and share my story during breast cancer awareness month. We would love to give back to this wonderful organization. Brewscuits will be donating $1 per bag purchased online from now through the end of the year. Just use code “boobies” at checkout at www.brewscuit.com.

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Becki’s Breast Cancer Story

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Becki had no symptoms when she went in for a routine mammogram and was convinced that everything was normal. She later learned of her Stage III breast cancer diagnosis.

“I felt really numb. It was very shocking,” Becki recalled. “I’m a very positive type of person and I just assume the best. I had myself pretty convinced that everything would be fine.”

Becki’s treatment plan included a double mastectomy with reconstruction. She completed 16 chemotherapy treatments followed by 30 rounds of radiation.

During her cancer journey Becki leaned on the support of her husband and three children, along with her mother who is an 18-year breast cancer survivor. She also had a group of friends who helped provide rides, coordinate meals and keep her company on ongoing trips to radiation. About 15 people from Becki’s support group even came to her last radiation appointment and they all went out for lunch afterwards to celebrate.

MyLifeLine.org was a way for Becki to utilize her support group. She and her husband made updates on surgery and treatment progress, coordinated meals and rides as well as sharing photos. Becki now uses her site to share milestones with her support group.

Although Becki says sometimes she feels like cancer hasn’t changed her life, there are some positive differences since her diagnosis. Cancer has made Becki appreciate the little things more and be open to new experiences. She’s never had her ears pierced, but her young daughter wanted to get her own pierced.

“After I went through everything, I thought ‘I really don’t know if I will be here when she’s 12 to wait until that milestone to get her ears pierced,” Becki recalled. Together, Becki and her daughter got their ears pierced, which was a special experience for the both of them.

Becki’s advice to other cancer patients is to utilize their support system. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and communicate. Let people help you,” she advised.


To read more cancer patient stories, visit our Inspirational Cancer Stories page.

MyLifeLine Launches Caregiver Research Study

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MyLifeLine.org is proud to launch a cancer caregiver survey as part of a research study to understand the unmet needs of caregivers and how we can better serve them. This study is being done in partnership with researchers at the University of Colorado Denver.

Why is this study being done?

We know that cancer caregivers face unique needs and challenges while caring for their loved ones. This study plans to learn more about more about the support needs of caregivers of cancer patients, so that we can better understand how to support this caregiver population.

Caregivers of cancer patients are more likely to experience poor psychological and physical health, and this study may provide important information regarding the current gaps in support and opportunities for additional support in this area. The survey will help us understand online support needs as well as practical needs and potential tools for the caregiver population.

About this study

Your participation in this study is voluntary.  You have the right to choose not to take part in this study.  If you choose to take part, you have the right to stop at any time.  If you refuse or decide to withdraw later, you will not lose any benefits or rights to which you are entitled.

The survey takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and is open to all cancer caregivers who have actively cared for a cancer patient in the past 5 years.

Take the survey and share your experience.


We’re proud to partner with Celgene and Amgen to bring you this research initiative.