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FRIENDS HELPING FRIENDS Helps Underserved Women Facing Breast Cancer

Friends Helping Friends is an outreach arm of the Los Angeles Breast Cancer Alliance (LABCA). Our goal is to provide underserved/underinsured women in treatment for breast cancer with non-medical support services. These services may include transportation to and from treatment, prostheses, wigs, bras, and lymphedema garments. Friends Helping Friends

All of our services are provided free of charge to qualified women. These women are screened and referred by partnering organizations/agencies in Los Angeles and surrounding communities. In turn, Friends Helping Friends works with local resources to supply the requested items.

To date, we have provided services to more than 550 underserved women. Unfortunately, we are now seeing more and more patient navigation services (organizations that help guide women through the health care system) lose their funding, causing Friends Helping Friends to reach deeper into the community to fill the gaps. LABCA's goal is to create a model program with county hospitals, so women do not get lost in the health care system.

Our primary referral agency, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Care Coordination and Navigation Program (CCAN), will lose their funding at the end of this year and stop enrolling new patient. By working with the County health programs, Friends Helping Friends will be able to expand our services.

Interestingly, the number one requested assistance, reported by women whom we serve is for transportation. Patients are finding it increasingly difficult to get to and from their treatments. In many instances, this leads to the decision by a lot of women to stop receiving their treatments. Providing transportation will continue as one of our top priorities.

It is the intention of the Friends Helping Friends program to reach further into the community and continue to provide non-medical services to underserved and underinsured women in Los Angeles County.

For information how you can help these women in need, please call LABCA at 310.453.1046 or e-mail us at editor@labca.org.

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