The Journey from Loss to Purpose

August 29, 2023 11:38 pm

Philipsburg – Tina Hamm, an 11-year breast cancer survivor, was the guest speaker at the fourth monthly meeting of the Breast Cancer Support Group held on August 24, 2023. The topic was “The Journey from Loss to Purpose.”

Ms. Hamm ( passionately brought her experience as a luxury travel concierge, podcaster, author and international motivational speaker to a room filled with survivors (long and short-term), as well as supporters, caregivers and a few women currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Through the art of storytelling, attendees were taken on a journey that detailed the many trials and tribulations experienced by Ms. Hamm, including the traumatic passing of several partners and family members, a breast cancer diagnosis that triggered eight major surgeries and the sudden departure from a job she loved, all of which landed her firmly in what she passionately calls “purpose work.”

Fueled by her indomitable faith, the lessons Ms. Hamm has learned resonated with the audience and provided invaluable wisdom and inspiration that can be practically applied in various aspects of their daily lives. During her own, as well as others’, eloquent stories of hope and survival, an interactive dialogue was fostered, whereby each attendee shared personal experiences and insights, as well as challenges and stumbling blocks unique to their lives. There was a commonality in the conversation, which humanized each experience in a very meaningful way. Led by Ms. Hamm, the group also participated in a powerful recitation of affirmations that had a positive and immediate impact on everyone. The invaluable take away following the two-hour session was that nurturing an environment which facilitates intimate and transparent dialogue in a safe space is precisely the foundation necessary to effectively build a diverse community of refuge for everyone, but an especially vital resource for those still amid their personal battles. Ms. Hamm brought the message home that we are 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we “choose” to respond, which was very powerful!

Studies have shown that breast cancer support groups offer a wide range of benefits for those who are affected by this disease, some of which include the following:

  • Emotional Support: Support groups provide an environment where individuals can share their fears, anxieties and concerns without fear of judgment, criticism or ostracization. They help individuals cope with their emotions in a supportive and non-threatening setting, thereby turning patients into social advocates.
  • Shared Experiences: Patients can learn from others who have had similar experiences by exchanging practical advice about coping with symptoms, managing side effects and navigating the healthcare system. In addition, support groups provide an opportunity to develop meaningful relationships by fostering a sense of community.
  • Vital Caregiver Support: Caregivers can also benefit from support groups as they learn how to better care for their loved ones and confront the stress of aiding someone with cancer. Having other caregivers to draw strength from normalizes some of the feelings of helplessness commonly faced and gives a voice to this vital, yet often misunderstood, part of the experience.
  • Improved Quality of Life: Support groups help patients manage the emotional, spiritual and physical challenges of cancer, which naturally elevates their quality of life. Overall, support groups provide a sense of comfort, validation and much-needed hope for survivors of breast cancer, as well as their families and friends.

The Still Beautiful Foundation, a breast cancer survivor advocacy organization whose motto is “Still Beautiful, before, during and after,” has provided one-on-one support and counseling to individuals affected by breast cancer since its inception. Their collaboration with the Positive Foundation and Elektralyets Foundation, both comprised of breast cancer awareness advocates, is a shared mission to bring breast cancer patients and their communities together in a safe space where they can openly discuss their experiences. The Breast Cancer Support Group was collectively launched by these organizations, and facilitated by Shirley Serbony, for patients, caregivers and their network on May 25, 2023. The Group meets every fourth Thursday of the month; the next meeting will be held on September 28, 2023 at 7pm at the SFC/R4CR/4C Foundation located on A.T. Illidge Road #60. This community is committed to providing emotional support, peer learning, a reduction in isolation and an improved quality of life to all those affected by breast cancer. Please spread the word because all are welcome to attend!

For more information or if you would like to support this growing initiative, please call +1-721- 588-8020 or email Together we are stronger, more powerful and “Still Beautiful, before, during and after.” Please visit for a free download of Your Guide to Overcoming the Side Effects of Radiation and Chemotherapy and additional information.

Caption: Facilitator Shirley Serbony; Guest Speaker Tina Hamm; Shelly Alphonso, Positive Foundation; and Marcellina Loblack, Still Beautiful Foundation