Peer support for breast cancer patients
For individuals facing a breast cancer diagnosis, connecting to someone with a similar experience can be a great source of comfort. Our SoulMates program matches breast cancer patients at Dana-Farber with volunteers who have been through a similar journey.
SoulMates participants can benefit from the insight of a peer mentor who is trained in topics such as listening, problem solving, and confidentiality. These volunteers offer emotional support, practical coping tips, and more. They guide patients to Dana-Farber
programs and community resources. Most importantly, they help relieve fears and concerns because they understand what it's like to face cancer.
This program is currently open to women of all ages with breast cancer who are receiving their treatment at Dana-Farber. Volunteer Mentors must be out of active treatment for at least two years.
Monthly community meetings
SoulMates hosts a virtual Community Meeting over Zoom once a month for peers and mentors. First there is a guest speaker program designed to meet unique survivorship needs. These guest speakers include health care professionals from within Dana-Farber and the greater Boston community specializing in nutrition, physical therapy, exercise physiology, sleep, acupuncture, expressive arts, and more. After the presentation, participants are divided into small Zoom break out rooms to facilitate virtual 'face to face' contact between mentors and peers. Many attendees find additional mentors, friends at different stages of treatment, and mutually supportive relationships. Finally, peer mentors meet with the SoulMates program coordinator and a social worker for conversation and support about their role as volunteer peer mentors. Education and training are key to the success of SoulMates.
Before the pandemic, SoulMates facilitated face-to-face contact between peers and mentors in addition to connecting by phone, text, email, etc. Further, we hosted our community meetings in person and provided a nourishing meal for participants. We have been fortunate to be able to continue our community meetings virtually and hope that we can safely be together in person soon.
To join the SoulMates program, or volunteer to be a peer mentor, call 617-237-0498.
Listen to a
podcast of two women talking about their experiences with the SoulMates program.
first-person account of the SoulMates experience.