Support services offer treatment, financial assistance

Published: Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 1:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 1:33 p.m.

Gail Wise is battling breast cancer for the second time, but said she might not have had the chance to fight back this time if not for a friend in one of her support groups.

After beating the disease in the first round nearly 17 years ago, Wise continued to go to her local women’s groups. Within the past year, a friend pulled her aside and confided in her about a questionable breast mammogram.

Inspired by her friend’s report, Wise went home and did a self-exam. She discovered a lump. It was only five months since her last clean mammogram.

Now, she’s back in her old breast cancer support group, which meets at Trinity United Methodist Church.

“I get not only emotional support from the ladies, but a lot of information,” Wise said. “Each one of them has been on a different walk.”

From Debra Rowley, Wise learned how to wear a wig when chemotherapy caused her hair to fall out. Rowley invited Wise to her home and said Wise could borrow anything she had. Wise left with three wigs.

“She helped me see it as a way of empowerment instead of being a victim,” she said.

Wise benefited from local support groups, but knows many women who never attempt to reach out to the resources around them. For October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we compiled a list of local resources for women (and men) to use, to save and to treasure.


ACORN, Inc. Medical Clinic: Provides low-income women ages 50-64 with free breast cancer screenings during any office visit. Located at 23320 N. State Road 235, Brooker. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; and 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. For more information, call 485-1133 or visit

UF & Shands Breast Center: Offers treatment options, including chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy and breast reconstruction, for benign and cancerous breast conditions. For directions or to schedule an appointment, call 265-7070.

UF & Shands High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic: Breast cancer prevention measures for women who are at above-average risk for cancer based on family history or prior breast biopsies. The clinic sees patients the first and third Mondays of the month and provides individualized care to each person. Visit or call 265-7070.

North Florida Regional Medical Center Breast Health Program: Provides patients with mammograms, breast ultrasounds, minimally-invasive breast biopsies, treatment options and reconstruction. It is at 6500 Newberry Road, Gainesville; 1-800-611-6913.


Arts in Medicine at UF & Shands: Program offers an eight-week yoga for awareness class that can benefit women with breast cancer by reducing fluid in the body, which can delay the recovery process. Tammy Bernard teaches the class at 1430 SW 13th St., Gainesville. For schedule and registration, call her at 733-0880.

Cancer Recovery Program: Gainesville Health & Fitness and ReQuest Physical Therapy partnered to provide a four-week class for patients who are undergoing treatment and those who have completed treatment. To learn more, call Debbie Lee at Gainesville Health & Fitness, 377-4955, or the ReQuest Physical Therapy Center, 373-2116.

Pat’s Perfect Fit: The business sells mastectomy apparel and supplies, as well as orthopedic soft goods, wound care supplies and aids to daily living. It is at 3432 W. University Ave., Gainesville. For more information, call 377-6060.

Especially for Women: The firm offers a full line of breast forms and mastectomy bras for every type of breast surgery, as well as wigs, hairpieces and extensions. It is in the Oaks Mall Plaza at 6781 W. Newberry Road, Gainesville. The phone number is 332-9095.

JC Penney: Bra specialists at the department store can fit women for a bra and prosthesis with a prescription. The store is at the Oaks Mall, 6481 W. Newberry Road, Gainesville. To learn more, call 331-2222.

The American Cancer Society: The Alachua County Unit, 2119 SW 16th St., offers a number of programs, including:

Resource Center: Free bras, wigs, hats and more to all cancer patients who ask — no exceptions.

Look Good, Feel Better: Classes by professional cosmetologists to teach women hair, nail and makeup techniques to combat the side effects of treatment.

Road to Recovery: Rides to and from medical appointments to patients in need.

I Can Cope: Educational program instructs people facing cancer on all aspects of the disease, including questions about treatment side effects, self-esteem and intimacy, communicating concerns and feelings, and staying healthy in the mind, body and spirit.

Reach to Recovery: Pairs a person recently diagnosed with breast cancer with a breast cancer survivor to help guide the patient through treatment and recovery.

For details on all programs, call 1-800-227-2345 or 240-5057.

Catholic Charities of Gainesville: This outreach provides emergency assistance to people in need to help with food, utility bill, prescription assistance, and more. The location is 1701 NE Ninth St., Gainesville. For more information, call 372-0294.

Christians Concerned for the Community: The organization builds and installs wheelchair ramps and grab bars for Alachua County residents who need them, as well as minor home-modification assistance, such as painting and yard work. To learn more, call 371-1768.

Eldercare of Alachua County: Provides services to those age 60 and older, including utilities and food assistance, and homemaker services. The fee is based on income and eligibility may be based on need. The agency is based at 5701 NW 34th St., Gainesville, and can be reached by calling 265-9040.

Arts in Medicine at UF&Shands: Programs cater to hospitalized patients, such as bed-side crafts, creative writing, personal journaling, guided meditation and yoga. The program also provides a space away from the medical aspect of Shands through comfy chairs, an extensive library and computers. The program is based at 1430 SW 13th St., Gainesville. To learn more, call 733-0880.

Gainesville Breast Cancer Support Group: The free monthly group welcomes breast cancer patients and survivors, and women with all forms of cancer. It meets at Trinity United Methodist Church, 4000 NW 53rd Ave., Gainesville. For more information, call Nancy MacIntosh at 386-418-3737 or Debra Ryan at 386-418-0454.

Healing Touch Cancer Support Group: Welcomes all cancer patients, survivors, family members and friends at 5:30 p.m. the third Thursday of every month at Trinity United Methodist Church, 4000 NW 53rd Ave., Gainesville, in the O. Dean Martin Prayer room. To learn more, call 331-2960.

Cancer Connections: Meets one Wednesday a month at the Hope Lodge conference room, 2121 SW 16th St., Gainesville. Meetings are open to patients, survivors, caregivers, family members and health-care providers. The meetings educate patients and providers about resources in the area by bringing together people to network. For meeting dates and topics, contact Barb Thomas at 377-4427 or

Holistic options

Dragon Rises College of Oriental Medicine: Offers a non-traditional approach to cancer treatment and recovery through the use of acupuncture, herbal medicine, lifestyle consultation and therapeutic massage. The college is at 1000 NE 16th Ave., Building F, Gainesville. For more information, call 371-2833 or

Qigong and tai chi: Sifu Anthony Korahais teaches at his studio, Flowing Zen, which welcomes people of all athletic ability. Tai chi and qiqong can relieve the side effects associated with cancer treatment, including reduced pain and nausea, according to the website. The studio is at 5127 NW 39th Ave., Gainesville. For more information, call 672-7613.

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