Y-ME, one of the oldest breast cancer organizations, has closed its doors of service. While to some this is old news and for others it may feel irrelevant, for me it strikes a chord of sadness. For more than 30 years, Y-ME served as a great point of contact for anyone diagnosed with breast cancer. As the years fleeted, the organization became most known for its 24-hour live, multilingual support hotline. Thousands of newly diagnosed women were able to speak to a breast cancer survivor anytime – day or night. Hundreds of volunteers stood ready to serve as a support to someone who was “in their shoes.” In July, Y-ME ceased services and has subsequently filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
There have been many articles written about the organization, the abrupt dismissal of staff, and its shutting down of services. Some reference the financial meltdown of ’08 and its impact on nonprofit organizations. Others question the need for such services during the changing technological times. Whatever the reasons, the doors are closed and the services are no more.
What is most relevant to me are the thousands of women who are currently being referred to Y-ME, who finally muster the strength to call, only to hear a message to call another organization. And the hundreds of volunteers who, because of their experience, have dedicated themselves to helping and supporting others affected by breast cancer.
As part of the community of breast cancer organizations, YSC is saddened by the loss of one of its own. YSC and Y-ME have worked together on numerous projects and programs to meet the needs of women facing breast cancer and those who love them. We’ve collaborated on numerous trainings expressly for young women and continue to use that experience to service our constituents. YSC is strengthened by such partnerships and remains dedicated to serving young women and engaging volunteers in meaningful ways. For those who were diagnosed as a young woman and received Y-ME peer support hotline training, we invite you to join our efforts to support YSC’s constituents. If you are interested in this opportunity, please complete this form.
There is strength in numbers. Although that number has been reduced by one, we are still strong – we are not alone. There’s a community of cancer organizations striving to meet the multifaceted needs of women with breast cancer. We acknowledge Y-ME’s role in raising the profile of breast cancer support services and YSC remains ready to serve and engage young women diagnosed and those that care about them.