No doubt you have heard of the "Ethel Precht Breast Cancer Walk," one of the biggest events every October in Lake Charles. What you might not know, though, is that there is a foundation working the other 364 days of the year - connecting those affected by breast cancer with local resources.
Donna Mier and Jan Blake are board members with the Ethel Precht Hope Breast Cancer Foundation. All year, they volunteer their time, organizing the annual walk and so much more. "It's local people that can help you out both financially and emotionally," Mier said.
Money raised from the annual October walk, named in honor of cancer survivor Ethel Precht, supports what the foundation does all year: Filling the gap for women in Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes when insurance is not enough. "They don't cover the wigs or hats or any of the other expenses that you have when you're diagnosed with this," said Mier.
Both Mier and Blake have deep connections to the foundation. Mier owns Donna's Lingerie in Lake Charles, where women often come post-surgery for a prosthesis or wig.
Blake is a breast cancer survivor herself, five years strong. "I had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction surgery starting at the same time," she said.
From a breast cancer diagnosis to surgery and recovering afterwards, there are so many questions for someone going through that process That is what made volunteers with the Ethel Precht Hope Breast Cancer Foundation decide to create a support group, getting to the bottom of those answers. "People going through the same situation as you can relate to what you're going through," said Blake, "your frustrations, your anxieties, the fear of the unknown."
The support group is named "Hope" and that is what these volunteers say is at the heart of the foundation. "We have helped a little over 400 people," said Mier, "each year it's growing more and more and the best thing is we're here to help each one of you as much as we can."
The support group meets the third Thursday of every month at 780 Bayou Pines, off Lake Street in Lake Charles. The foundation also offers scholarships to students affected by breast cancer.
Click here for more information about the Ethel Precht Hope Breast Cancer Foundation, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities for this year's walk.