, Salem, MA

Fighting breast cancer

October 16, 2012

Build your own breast cancer army

Support from friends, family and community are an integral tool in the fight against breast cancer. Many are taking their illness to the Internet, creating online support groups on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and forums.


Both Schmitt and Roppe are huge proponents of support groups, whether they be online or in person.

“It’s a real sisterhood,” Roppe says. “You know you’re not alone, and when you’re talking to people who have been there, you’re free to be honest and you can share things you can’t share with others.”

Roppe is currently still part of a Facebook group with 150 women who share the common thread of all having had triple-negative breast cancer.

The best support

Sometimes, friends just need to let you know they’re available, Roppe says. People would drop by, bring a magazine, drop off some chicken noodle soup or send an email to check up, she says.

Having people treat her “like a normal person” was very important. She recalls a moment when a friend asked if she had seen the previous night’s “American Idol.” When it’s not all about cancer and mortality, you can begin to feel human again, Roppe says.

During her journey through cancer, Schmitt says she and her husband learned to accept help from other people. About three times a week, whether it was a friend or family member, someone would bring over meals for the family, which includes sons Corey, 16, and Clay, 13, and a stepdaughter, Lindsay, 29.

Schmitt’s biggest pieces of advice for friends and family members who aren’t sure how to act in front of a cancer-stricken loved one? Don’t come with pity in your eyes, Schmitt says. And don’t talk about other people you’ve known who have died. That’s the last thing anyone with cancer wants to hear, she says.

Roppe recalled the very worst days when she was in the thick of chemotherapy and love from her kids carried her through.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Fighting breast cancer
Local News

Local News
  • Market Basket store managers vow to resign

    Store managers and assistant managers at Market Baskets in the area signed petitions Monday declaring they would work only for Arthur T. Demoulas, no matter who buys the grocery chain. "It was a voluntary petition," Salem store manager Dave Webber sa

    July 29, 2014 1 Story

  • Former law student gets jail term for stealing jewels SALEM -- A former law student who prowled craigslist for people selling diamond jewelry, then robbed them, all while falsely claiming to be a cancer patient, was sent to jail Thursday. Jeffrey Rosenspan, 32, of Walpole, had 10 diamond rings -- as we

    July 29, 2014

  • sculpture Ipswich approaches gift of art cautiously, with good reason

    Art, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. Which is why politicians and public officials often seek to avoid making judgments on public art. A wrong decision can create a furor.

    That might explain the caution of Ipswich selectmen as resident Rick Silverman proposes to honor his late wife and grace the town with an elegant sculpture on the North Green. Treading lightly lest they offend or preemptively reject the offer, they voted last week to set up a board that will advise them on what is and what isn’t welcome in Ipswich’s public spaces.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Coal dock rehab beginning this week SALEM -- It's out with the coal and in with the cruise ships. With less than three months until the first cruise ship is expected to arrive, work has begun to repurpose the former coal dock at Salem Harbor Station. The 800-foot-long, deep-water dock

    July 29, 2014

  • Flood insurance changes could leave coastal properties vulnerable

    BOSTON -- Homeowners struggling with rising flood insurance rates will see relief under legislation signed by Gov. Deval Patrick, but industry officials warn the changes could leave hundreds of waterfront properties underinsured. The new law, champio

    July 29, 2014 6 Stories