TYLER HILL - "She's a friend I've known all my life," said Stephen Martin. "I just felt I needed to thank her somehow."
Martin, and his wife, Lucia, now live in Naples, Florida. When his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, an old friend reached out to help.
That friend was Sue Grasse, who sent a care package to Lucia after learning of her diagnosis.
In return, Martin decided to have a plaque engraved to commemorate Grasse's compassionate heart.
Grasse was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007.
"At the time, I was new to the area," she said. "It ended up being quite the journey."
After the diagnosis, she began to volunteer with the American Cancer Society. Eventually, she realized that something was missing from this area.
"There is no support group here," she said. To fill that void, she started her own website called Navigating the Journey.
"I wanted to get resources to local women," she said. The resources available on her site range from support groups to items those afflicted can get for free.
Grasse doesn't just stop at providing online support to those in need. She also sends out and delivers care packages to those diagnosed with the disease.
"If I hear of somebody who has it, I'll send them a package," she said. "I usually pack things like a journal, care pillows, crochet caps and personal care items." To date, she has given out around 20 care packages.
Grasse says that she also tries to help those who have the disease in any way she can.
"It's a traumatic experience," she said.
Surviving the trauma
Grasse also provides those in need a friendly ear to vent their troubles or concerns.
"I can speak from experience. I spent so much time worrying when I got my diagnosis."
She also offered advice to those recently diagnosed.
"Reach out," she said, adding that there are many sites and organizations available nationally to help. Those organizations include the American Cancer Society and the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition.
"It's really important to talk to somebody."
Another thing that is important is to accept the help that is offered.
"Take the help that's offered, and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it."
Grasse also said with a disease like breast cancer, it is important to take it all in stride.
"Take it one day at a time," she said with a smile. "It does get better."
Grasse has started a private group on Facebook that family members and those suffering from the disease can join. The group can be found at www.facebook.com/navigatingthejourney.
Page 2 of 2 - If you would like to donate items, or postage, to Grasse for a care package, email email@example.com