Breast cancer survivor spreads message of hope
Breast cancer organisation Reach for Recovery consists of many volunteers, and for police Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Mentor, it is a great honour to be a part of this group.
Mentor is a 54-year-old breast cancer survivor from Grassy Park who volunteers alongside other survivors and their families. In doing so, she provides practical and emotional support to newly diagnosed, and existing cancer patients.
Mentor was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and made a full recovery two years later.
“When I had my first operation done, a volunteer from this group came to visit me when I was at my lowest. I remember everything that she shared with me was very inspirational.” she said.
After she had gone through her treatment she saw the impact that volunteer visits had on her recovery, and realised that it was part of her purpose in life to do the same.
Mentor has been a volunteer since 2018 and said that being a volunteer brings her so much joy in life.
“It is so rewarding when I leave a patient after speaking to them and see that they have a renewed hope because they have spoken to someone who’s been where they are,” she said.
Reach for Recovery’s support gave Mentor a new lease on life.
“My outlook on life changed so much. I made changes to my diet, I exercise for 30 minutes a day, and I believe in myself more now,” she said.
Mentor said that having had breast cancer taught her so many life lessons, but most importantly, to never give up.
“I was diagnosed at stage three and a half. I was halfway to the final stage of cancer, but because I never gave up, I managed to beat this disease,” she said.
Mentor said that she will continuously advise other breast cancer survivors to become volunteers.
“You give and you gain when you are a volunteer. Seeing the difference our visits make in their recovery process is so rewarding,” Mentor said.
Based in Johannesburg, Brian Derenberger is a Senior Editor at Healthy Organic Lifestyle.