Breast Cancer support group offers outlet for survivors

May 14—Former Muskogee High School girls basketball coach Shonika Breedlove says she appreciates the support she received while battling breast cancer.

"Unless you have been through it yourself, you don't fully understand what a woman is going through," Breedlove said.

Breedlove will host support groups for breast cancer survivors, 6:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.

"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020 and had to have a double mastectomy at St. Francis, Tulsa," she said. "I fortunately didn't have to have chemo or radiation. My numbers are still looking good. Still have to go every six months to the doctor."

Breedlove said several people, including breast cancer survivor Wren Stratton, helped her through her treatment. Stratton sewed things for Breedlove and supported her emotionally.

"My cousin helped me emotionally and helped with things I would have to encounter," Breedlove said.

Breedlove, now a dean at Muskogee High, said she since has been able to help a few women with their situations.

"And they were grateful for hearing things that even the doctors don't tell you," she said.

She said she joined Women Who Care breast cancer awareness group and is now on the board.

"I talked about wanting to have a support group," she said. "Although I knew there were women who suffered from breast cancer in this area, there weren't any support groups for it."

Breedlove said the monthly meetings, which start Tuesday, will initially focus on talking and sharing stories. It could eventually include workbooks and education sessions.

"It can help the community and all races of women and men who have had it," she said, adding that she also wants the support group to help Hispanics.

"I know sometimes the language barrier can be a factor," she said. "I have friends who would like to interpret, so if someone needs help, we can get them help as well."