Established in 1967 by ICA, "Yad Lehachlama" (Reach to Recovery) is a volunteer group comprised of 250 female volunteers who contracted breast cancer; these volunteers are from localities all over Israel, of all ages, Jewish and Arab women, who speak diverse languages.
Have all undergone breast surgery and have recovered.
Accompany women who have recently been diagnosed with the disease, supporting them through times of crisis, anxiety, and the fear of the unknown.
Undergo special professional and in-depth training and are updated on a regular basis through professional workshops, seminars and meetings with physicians throughout their volunteer activities.
Are updated on all that concerns various treatments, and they are trained to assist their friends according to the type of surgery that they have undergone: full mastectomy, partial mastectomy, quarter mastectomy, mutations that raise the risk, BRCA1 and BRCA2, bi-lateral mastectomy, gene mutation carriers, and patients who have been administered treatments prior to surgery.
Received structured training from professionals to perform their volunteer work effectively.
Are active women, who pursue a career, raise children and have a calendar full of activities, but are always prepared to volunteer, in any weather, even on holidays, and devote their time in supporting women in distress and experiencing crisis, lending a sympathetic ear and offering solid advice.
Are assigned to each patient according to similar demographic statistics, and the volunteer visits the patient's home shortly after surgery.
Bring an information kit along with them, consisting of information booklets on subjects such as rights, anticipated treatments, patients' relationship with their spouse/partner, what to tell the children, and more.
Bring a lightweight temporary prosthesis, when the patient undergoes a mastectomy, which serves as an initial solution for the missing breast and saves the woman discomfort and embarrassment upon her release from the hospital.
The project is characterized by accessibility, flexibility, and the diverse options available to every woman.
From the very moment a woman realizes that she has the disease, she may contact the organization directly, without having to go through complicated red tape, she may contemplate different types of surgery, and may consult on surgical methods, breast restoration and any other issue.
Any woman can consult with a Yad Lehachlama volunteer on any subject. Many women contact Yad Lehachlama and they all receive a sensitive, appropriate and responsible response.
Some 30 new volunteers were recruited in recent months and incorporated in the group's activity, and a group consisting of targeted mentors for metastatic breast cancer patients was formed.
A "latent customers" team was set up - a team of 'Yad Lehachlama' volunteers will visit stores where breast prostheses and swimsuits may be purchased, and will provide their impressions of the store, the courtesy of the sales personnel and will report on their findings. ICA's "Guide to the purchase of breast prostheses and swimsuits" will be updated according to their findings.
A "Product Development" team was set up - a focus group held in collaboration with M. Yael Winkler, a design student who chose to design a product to make it easier for breast cancer patients and survivors.
Digital Newsletter for group volunteers - every few months, a breast cancer newsletter is compiled and distributed via electronic mail to the 'Yad Lehachlama' volunteers. This newsletter informs volunteers about what is going on in the group, at the ICA, and in the content world relating to the fight against breast cancer. This year, a section highlighting experiences and/or special activities undertaken by volunteers has been added to the newsletter.
Telephone Monitoring - a select group of volunteers in the central and northern regions continue to monitor breast cancer patients by phone on a bi-monthly basis. The volunteers speak with women who contacted 'Yad Lehachlama' for support and consultation, ask how they are, and provide them with renewed strength to pursue their battle with cancer.
A Facebook Group for 'Yad Lehachlama' Volunteers has been set up in recent months, boasting dozens of volunteers as members. Group activity is geared toward for volunteers only and members are actively involved.
Personal Encounter between Survivors who completed Treatment with 'Yad Lehachlama' Volunteers - the group volunteers invite women who are at the final stages of their treatments for an open discussion, to share their experience of "The Day After and the Return to a Regular Routine".
Breast Prosthesis Consultation Service reopened at the "Strong Together" Support and Activity Center at Beit Mati, ICA Headquarters in Givatayim. The consultation service is offered once a week by Mrs. Orit Kariel, a 'Yad Lehachlama' volunteer.
Help financing seminars, workshops, prostheses, the salary of a coordinator and media communication of the "Reach to Recovery" Project - US$ 200,000 p.a. Kindly contact us, should you wish to contribute to this project. Please note that all donations received are transferred in full (no overhead is taken).
Lili Lev Biller
Committees and Projects Coordinator