Do you remember that song? “Lean on me … when you’re not strong … I’ll be your friend … I’ll help you carry on …” It was written by Bill Withers in 1972 and is still being played, and no wonder. The message is right there in the words, no pussy-footing around. I also think of Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend.” Same idea.
None of us exists in a vacuum. We need the support of others.
Support groups are a fact of modern life. Think about it. There are bereavement groups for those supporting each other after a loss. There are parenting groups for those supporting each other through the challenges of raising kids. There are groups for recovering alcoholics and drug users, and groups with a civic mission, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. There are book groups and movie groups, writers groups and knitting groups, all of which validate the interests of those who belong.
And then there’s breast cancer. My mother died of it when I was a child. Back then, women suffered in silence, and they suffered alone. Not so now. It’s hard to go anywhere during this Breast Cancer Awareness Month without seeing signs of support, from a pink White House to my pink local newspaper to throngs of walkers to all that pink gear worn by hulking giants in the NFL.
So I can’t let the month go any further without mentioning UPLIFT.
Formally titled, UPLIFT: Secrets From the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors, this book is a support group that can be carried with you 24-7, that is guaranteed to be positive, and that can be consulted in the middle of the night when everything looks dark. I did not write this book; I merely compiled the thoughts, practical hints, and often amusing anecdotes of more than 400 breast cancer survivors, their friends, families, and coworkers. The best part of this book? The entirety of my proceeds fund a breast fellowship at Mass General Hospital, a fellowship that is now in its ninth year.
So if you know someone who needs a lift from a friend, buy them UPLIFT. They will appreciate your support and that of the contributors of the book itself.
Here’s to a cure!