Cancer Survivor Helps Others Find Hope, Support Through Founding Project 31
TULSA, Oklahoma - Eleven percent of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women under the age of 45.
The diagnosis is hard on any patient, but it opens up a number of issues for young women.
And there’s a support group designed with the younger woman in mind offering hope and support.
To look at Sarah McLean, you'd never know she's battled breast cancer not once but twice.
"The first time, it was deer in headlights, and I didn't know what I didn't know. As a patient, ignorance can be bliss and so I was taking it one step at a time and was very overwhelmed. And the second time it was very surreal, but I knew too much the second time" Sarah shared.
Sarah’s children—Colin and Tatum—and husband Steve helped her face each day but there were times when she really struggled.
"There was so much emphasis on your physical health, which is obviously important, but we are mind, body, spirit. We are emotional beings and, so, I came out on the other side with so much destruction that I didn't know how to put back together; and so Steve and I were connected to a survivor who was also a psychologist, and she opened up this whole new world that we didn't even know was there."
So, Sarah set out to start a support group for young survivors to help them process what they are going through and to let them know they're not alone. She based it on the 31st chapter of Proverbs.
"And it says charm is deceptive and beauty if fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised and, as you know, this disease takes so much of who you are as a woman. It takes our hair, our breasts, our fertility, and our intimacy. And it feels like so much is stolen from you, but God says you are so beautiful inside and that's who you are to me so that's what resonated to me, and I want other women to know they are beautiful no matter what; so, that's where Project 31 came from."
The support groups are currently in 10 hospitals across the state in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Enid, and Stillwater.
"It's so awesome to see how God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, and I really believe that."
To find a Project 31 group near you, click here.