Breast cancer center helps patients weather the storm

By Raiza Giorgi

If a neighbor hadn’t advised her to check out the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Santa Barbara, Raven Skye might not be alive today.

Raven Skye of Santa Barbara says she wouldn’t be able to get through her storm of breast cancer without the love and support she has received from the Breast Cancer Resource Center.

She credits her life to the gentle and caring volunteers, staff and doctors that help her daily to get through the worst storm of her life.

“That building is sacred to me, my safety zone, and it helps that they give the best hugs on the planet,” Skye said.

To commemorate 20 years of service, the Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC) will host a free community Health and Wellness Resource Fair from 5 – 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12, at First Presbyterian Church, 21 Constance Ave. in Santa Barbara. The public is invited to attend the fair and explore available community resources.

The focus of the fair is to promote health and wellness and increase awareness about local cancer-care support resources. Participants can also obtain a variety of information about mammogram screening programs, insurance, fertility preservation, caregiver services, integrative therapies, and beauty and self-care resources. There will also be interactive activities and raffle prizes.

“I want everyone to know about this place and not feel alone, as I did when I first found out I had cancer,” Skye said.

Skye came back to Santa Barbara in the summer of 2015 to be close to her mother, who is a 30-year breast cancer survivor. Skye was about to take a position teaching English in South Korea, but her mother asked her to stay.

“A few months after I came home I was in the shower and felt a weird lump under my arm,” Skye said.

After a trip to the doctor and several tests, she was diagnosed on Nov. 24, 2015.

“I was depressed, as I think anyone else would be. I couldn’t sleep, I kept having anxiety and trauma attacks.

“The second I walked into the BCRC I felt like I could really relax. Even though I’ve had four major surgeries in the last two years, chemotherapy, radiation, and had my colon removed, their unwavering help and love has kept me going. Them and my friends I have made there, friends who have come back into my life and my family,” Skye said.

The fair is presented with the support of Union Bank, Santa Barbara Women’s Imaging Center, Breast Cancer Index, and Sientra.

Now in its 20th year of service, the BCRC has been providing free educational programs and support services to those diagnosed with breast cancer, survivors, and clients with breast health issues. The BCRC is a nonprofit charity organization, and all services and programs are offered free of charge.

The BCRC’s mission is to inspire hope and empower women to advocate for themselves and make informed decisions regarding breast health.

The BCRC is at 55 Hitchcock Way, Suite 101. For more information, call 805-569-9693.