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Local breast cancer survivor hopes to expand programs for those impacted by cancer

October is breast cancer awareness month
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 9:10 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Natalie Zacharczyk was only 34 years old when she was originally diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.

She was single mother. Her son was in fourth grade and she went through a variety of treatment, including chemo, radiation, multiple surgeries to fight cancer.

“At the end of my experience, I thought I had beat cancer so I kind of turned my back to everything cancer related,” explained Zacharczyk. “I realized over the next few years that cancer had ultimately changed me, that there was no going back to normal.”

Zacharczyk’s new normal was all about improving her life,even after being diagnosed stage 4 with metastatic breast cancer in 2019.

“It means I’ll be in treatment for the rest of my life and that was a really hard diagnosis to deal and grapple with, and I was able to do that by connecting with others in community who had similar experiences that I have had,” added Zacharczyk.

As a co-founder of Cancer Community Clubhouse, Zacharczyk is inviting anyone affected by cancer to reach out if they are in need of social or emotional support.

She said it’s her way to giving back and she is looking to create a permanent space for the community.

“So right now we are holding programs in a place called ‘The Center of Well Being,’ but our goal is to fundraise and raise money to have our own clubhouse that would be open all the time,” said Zacharczyk.

Zacharczkyk has a message for other fellow suvivors, one that she hopes will bring peace and hope.

“Pay a lot of attention to yourself, follow what feels right and also know there is a supportive community around that can bring understanding to your situation,” explained Zacharczyk. “Man, I sure wish I did that when I was first diagnosed, it would’ve changed a lot of things for me.

Membership for the Cancer Community Clubhouse isn’t just exclusive for cancer survivors, it’s open and free to anyone affected by cancer. The nonprofit is also looking for volunteers.

To learn more about the nonprofit and a list of programs, click here.

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