Salisbury's "Life After Breast Cancer" Program Tells Story of Su - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury's "Life After Breast Cancer" Program Tells Story of Survivorship

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SALISBURY, Md.- Living with breast cancer is a difficult, emotional experience, and life after breast cancer can be just as trying. One local organization, based at the MAC Center in Salisbury, serves those women in four counties, helping them get back on their feet through physical therapy and support. And the program is getting a boost, thanks to a grant from Komen Maryland.

Two days a week, you will find two-time breast cancer survivor Donna Twilley at the MAC Center gym. She has come a long way since her last surgery in 2008.

"I had no use in my left arm and was hunched over and definitely needed something in my life, so I participated and my life started to change from there," Twilley explained.

Twilley is one of more than 285 survivors helped by the "Life After Breast Cancer: Return to Independence" program.

"My goal was to pick up my grandson, and be able to hug him, and give him a kiss and smell him, and be able to enjoy him as much as possible," she said. "And I was able to do that by coming here and working out and getting the support that they offer."

"We try to give them their life back," explained Health and Wellness Director Leigh Anne Eagle, who also heads the program, which relies on funding.

Funding that has been cut dramatically.

"We started getting $50,000, then it went to $75,000, it went to $85,000, and last year, we did not receive a large grant," Eagle said.

This year, the program has been awarded a $5,000 grant from Komen Maryland.

It might not seem like much, but Eagle said it will go a long way.

"It will be a great benefit, because there is, especially with the changing healthcare needs, there's plenty of people that cannot afford their co-pays to go to the doctor," she said. "They can't afford to get there because of the transportation costs, and medications are expensive, and a lot of times, sometimes, they're not covered, so we hope to help them to bridge that gap."

"It will help as many people as we possibly can," she added.

People like Donna Twilley, whose incredible story of survivorship is just one of dozens, continuing to play out at the MAC center.

"My passion is to be able to help them and see them be able to pick up their grandchildren again, see them able to drive again and to give them their lives back to as normal as they can be," said Eagle.

"I don't know what my life would be like without it," said Twilley. "It's just made all the difference in my life, emotionally, physically, mentally, the support here at MAC center is absolutely fantastic."

Eagle tells WBOC the grant will help survivors with things like co-pays, transportation, and medication costs.

She said the organization hopes to apply again for a large Komen grant, to help put the "Life After Breast Cancer" program back in full swing.

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