Become A Mentor
No one should experience breast cancer alone. We know.
You Are Key to Providing One-to-One Support for People Affected by Breast Cancer
The FAQs below will provide a picture of ABCD’s mentor training process and the commitment you make if you choose to become a mentor. The Mentor Application, which must be submitted as part of becoming a mentor, illustrates the One-to-One nature of ABCD’s signature breast cancer support service.
We would be pleased to answer any questions you may have about how ABCD provides personalized breast cancer support to participants. (ABCD does not provide clinical services so we call the people we serve “participants.”) Simply Contact Us.
What is my commitment as a mentor?
After completing 12 hours of training, a mentor is ready to be matched. Mentors maintain contact with a participant throughout treatment or approximately six months, although sometimes the time commitment is shorter. Volunteer mentors are expected to contact participants by phone and be available by phone within reasonable limits. Personal visits or continuing the relationship beyond six months is solely a mentor’s choice. Sometimes, a mentor may be asked to serve more than one participant at a time. Participating in ABCD Continuing Education opportunities will help mentors remain effective.
How are mentors matched with participants?
ABCD uses its own confidential database and trained staff to match people on the basis of demographic characteristics including, but not limited to, age, marital and occupational status and ages of children – as well as such clinical characteristics as type and stage of disease and type of treatment. Participants are also asked a very important question: what do you need from a mentor right now?
When will participants contact ABCD for mentoring?
ABCD hopes to reach people soon after they are diagnosed with breast cancer because we recognize that the time between diagnosis and surgery is generally the most confusing and frightening. However, it may be at any point during the breast cancer journey that support and information is needed, including considerable time after treatment ends. ABCD will provide a mentor at any time requested.
What if I just don’t “connect” very well with a participant?
If either a mentor or participant feels the relationship is not working well, either may contact ABCD to end it. If a participant wishes to seek breast cancer support from another mentor, ABCD will make another match. ABCD follows up shortly after a match is made to assure that, all with the match is going smoothly.
What if I’m asked a question I can’t answer?
ABCD has trained staff available to help mentors find answers to questions about local and national breast cancer information and resources. ABCD’s Medical and Community Advisory Board assists ABCD staff as it supports mentors. Sometimes, mentors even act as resources for each other as they provide breast cancer support.
What if a participant wants medical information or recommendations?
ABCD mentors do not give medical advice. Neither do they recommend physicians, hospitals or treatment methods. Participants are informed of this during initial interviews. However, mentors do encourage women to learn about their rights and help them learn about the options they have in dealing with the disease. Participants are encouraged to discuss concerns with their health care team. ABCD mentors seek to empower participants to understand and participate in their breast cancer treatment and healing process.
ABCD is independent from and unaffiliated with any healthcare provider or healthcare system. However, we work in cooperation with many hospitals and medical providers, as well as community organizations, in order to assure that people affected by breast cancer know of and have access to ABCD’s free breast cancer support services.