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Training and info offered by Pink Ribbon Connection

By Elisabeth Dodd, Staff Writer

Everyone has been touched by cancer in some way, whether it be personally or through a loved one.

The emotional toll and medical costs can be overwhelming.

In October, breast cancer awareness month is recognized and symbolized by a pink ribbon.

In Indiana alone, there are 4,400 cases diagnosed each year, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. Breast Cancer is the second deadliest form of cancer. For many, this is a sobering diagnosis that requires an empathetic ear and community support.

The Pink Ribbon Connection is a non-profit organization that seeks to address the needs of breast cancer patients and survivors. Its goal is to reach out and have support in every county in Indiana. They offer tangible resources such as prosthetics, wigs, and bras to mitigate what expenses they can. Just as important, they offer peer counseling training. On Thursday, Oct. 25 they are offering this training for the first time in Union County. Hosted by the Union County Cancer Association at the Health Department Building, anyone can come for peer counseling training and education from 5:30-7:30 p.m. There will be light refreshments and dinner will be provided.

The training will be conducted by Dr. Christine Ward, a psychologist who has years of experience working with breast cancer patients, according to the Pink Ribbon Connection's press release. Dr. Sulsi Ibrahim, who is an oncologist with Reid Health will also attend as an educator.

UCCA member Wanda Adams, who is also the Union County representative for the Pink Ribbon Connection, holds their services dear to her heart as a breast cancer survivor herself.

Adams is employed as a custodian at Miami University, and it’s her picture which is featured on the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity page being recognized as a model employee. Adams appreciates being showcased doing what she does best, working hard. Despite the fluorescent lights that would dim others, she shines through the picture on the screen.

“I'm a celebrity” she jokes before looking more seriously at the photo and remarking that the timing really was perfect.

It was taken last year only weeks after her hair had started growing back from her chemotherapy treatments.

Adams was diagnosed with first stage breast cancer on June 28, 2016 after receiving a yearly mammogram check-up notice in the mail. She started chemo the Monday after Thanksgiving and finished treatment the Friday before Christmas.

“It's been a very faith-powerful walk, a journey that I couldn't have walked alone without the support I received, and more importantly, through my heavenly Father,” said Adams.

Now she's a peer counselor herself and encourages everyone to get involved.

“Anyone can do the training: It is just being a friend. If you can drink coffee or sweet tea, you can do this. We all know someone who has cancer, been affected by it or is going through it themselves. They are the ones who need to be there to encourage someone who is going through it. Everyone can listen therefore everyone can be open to this,” said Adams.

Adams insists that the Pink Ribbon Connection is an organization people can trust, and that it is one that she has had great experiences with.

“The funds they receive stay in Indiana so they can get into and support every community, small town, and rural county. They are serious about this. This is what amazes me that they have that commitment to education. Their sole goal is to be there for cancer patients and that is what touched my heart the most and stuck with me. I'm hosting for this to come into Union County to make an opportunity for those who have cancer of any type to receive community assistance through Pink Ribbon,” said Adams.

To learn more about peer counselor training or to sign up to participate, please visit or call 800-963-7891.