Organization Helps Women Through Breast Cancer Treatments

AMES, Iowa –Getting a breast cancer diagnosis is shocking and life changing. A Central Iowa group is trying to make it easier for women and their families.

Amber Vincent didn’t plan to get breast cancer. She said, "When they told me, of course, I was whistling when I went into the clinic that day thinking it was benign, whatever. So, I go in there, and when they told me, I was like, oh, is this real?"

Vincent was diagnosed with breast cancer in April. Two surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation soon followed, along with support from family, coworkers, and a group of women she didn't even know.

A group called Can Do Cancer connected Vincent with a breast cancer survivor, who sent encouraging notes during her journey. The group also provided a meal on days she had chemotherapy, and arranged for housecleaning once a month. "It's one less thing to worry about. Sometimes you get a little down, or you're a little tired or whatever, and you can't do the thing you think you can do through this whole situation," said Vincent.

Molly Zaver started Can Do Cancer in 2012 after her own diagnosis. "I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2011. I had just turned 35, and I had six year-old twins, and my son was eight and I was self-employed. So, I couldn’t put my life on hold for cancer."

Can Do Cancer provides non-medical support to breast cancer patients in Des Moines and Ames. The group served 75 women last year. “I started the organization with the intent of helping others, and I think I've been surprised by helping others it has helped me heal."

It has also helped Vincent heal. She said, "You can't even imagine how it's going to impact you on that day, until it happens to you."

It costs about $1,200 to help one patient. The group has a trivia night in the fall that raises money. You can also make an end of year donation to Can Do Cancer.

Vincent's last day of radiation is December 27th.