Women facing breast and gynecologic cancers can find support through Life Always Facing Forward, or LAFF, a new program created by St. Luke’s breast cancer survivors Ali Glaser and Sheri Frinzi. Their cancer journeys brought them together, creating a special friendship and a shared belief: Alone we are strong. Together, we are stronger. Ali and Sheri are living proof that a strong cancer network not only helps you get through cancer treatment, but can help you thrive through cancer treatment.
St. Luke’s LAFF program connects cancer patients with a cancer survivor on a one-on-one basis to be there to support them through their cancer journey. Facing a diagnosis of cancer can be a lonely experience. “You may need someone to talk with through your cancer journey, someone who knows firsthand what the journey is like, someone who has been down the same path and has come through its challenges stronger, ready to embrace life and look beyond the cancer,” says the LAFF creators.
Get to Know the LAFF Program and How it Can Provide Support
More cancer survivors have joined the LAFF program, having received the mentorship training necessary to provide one-on-one support for those women facing their cancer journey. St. Luke’s LAFF volunteers are available to help women cope with the emotional and practical challenges of cancer. All communication is strictly confidential. The LAFF program is overseen by a licensed social worker; LAFF volunteers receive specialized training to be able to participate in this program.
- Help to ease the fears, concerns and anxiety about cancer and its treatment
- Provide encouragement, hope and support
- Allow those with cancer to talk about cancer in an open, honest way
- Help manage the physical, emotional and practical challenges cancer can bring.
- Share their own experiences with cancer and coping strategies.
- Provide support from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.
If you would like to make a connection with a LAFF mentor for one-on-one support or become a LAFF mentor yourself, call St. Luke’s HOPE Line at 484-503-HOPE (4673) or St. Luke’s Cancer Counselor Wilma Alvarez at 610-628-8024 or Wilma.Alvarez@sluhn.org. You will be contacted within (one) business day of your request.
“We were destined to meet each other. We both use laughter to get us through our darkest days and realized our bond was the best defense in the war that had been waged upon us. The experience has taught us that cancer changes you inside and out, emotionally and physically. It also gave us the opportunity to see our own strengths and weakness and know that we were not alone. We want to share this message of hope and positivity through LAFF.”
– Ali Glaser and Sheri Frinzi
LAFF: It All Started With a Friendship
Hearing the words “you have cancer” is scary. There is no better support than someone who has experienced the cancer firsthand. For Ali Glaser, being diagnosed at age 44 with breast cancer was life changing. She endured 16 rounds of aggressive chemotherapy, surgery and 33 rounds of radiation. Meanwhile, in the thick of her own treatment, three months behind Ali, Sheri Frinzi, 41, was also diagnosed with breast cancer. She, too, endured 16 aggressive rounds of chemotherapy, surgery and 33 rounds of radiation, and was also BRAC2 positive.
A fateful chance meeting occurred on October 1, 2013; it was the start of a friendship. As Ali walked out of infusion for the very last time, celebrating with her family, she stumbled upon Sheri who appeared apprehensive as she scheduled her next 12 chemo appointments. Ali approached Sheri with a few words of encouragement and very quickly realized Sheri needed the support of someone with firsthand knowledge of what she was up against.
Ali proceeded to sit with Sheri through all of her remaining treatments and doctor’s appointments. She realized how important being a mentor during someone’s treatment helps with staying positive and moving forward with a renewed sense of hope. Through the journey, laughter and positivity became their best medicine. A special bond developed between the two of them, carrying Sheri through the end of her treatment.
Together, Ali and Sheri were determined to create a program to help others diagnosed with breast cancer and women’s cancers find emotional support and provide the encouragement needed to embrace the journey ahead and beyond with positivity.
Today, Ali and Sheri are both St. Luke’s breast cancer survivors. The meaningful relationship that was born ignited the momentum to create LAFF, Life Always Facing Forward, in 2016.