Woman Founds Breast Cancer Organization from Waiting Room


What she needed was a group of women her age to talk to -- not for medical advice, but for support and understanding. Could she have certain surgeries and still breast feed future children? It was a question most breast cancer patients getting chemotherapy alongside her couldn't answer because they were older than she was.

So she started jotting down ideas, and soon created Sharsheret.

"I remember Rochelle always very busy, with a lot of paperwork which she usually carried in a little trolley suitcase," Dr. Monica Fornieir, Shoretz's oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, told ABCNews.com in an email. "It was of course impressive that she was able to do this while receiving therapy."

The Sharsheret "chain" has grown over the years beyond young Jewish women with breast cancer to include women, friends and caregivers of all backgrounds and ages. It even includes genetic mutations that lead to other cancers, like Lynch syndrome.

Read about a woman who used Sharsheret to help decide whether to take preventive action against Lynch syndrome.

When Shoretz's cancer returned, this time as stage IV breast cancer, for which there is no known cure, she underwent a double mastectomy and had other preventive surgeries, but she didn't have to make these decisions alone because she had Sharsheret, the support chain she created.

"I was a part of the founding but I also see firsthand and witness firsthand the tremendous role we play in enhancing quality of life in the thousands of women we serve," she said. "That has been very rewarding."

Information is our best weapon against breast cancer, so Go Pink with us. Throughout the month, we'll bring you the information you need to protect yourself and inspiring stories from breast cancer survivors – there are 2.8 million in the U.S. alone. Armed with the facts, you can take our pledge to know your risk and get the screening tests appropriate for you.

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