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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Betty Callender and Olga Hughes have been friends for exactly seven and a half years. They remember the exact date because they met just days after Olga was diagnosed with breast cancer and was introduced to her mentor Betty, a 19-year survivor.
They met through the Susan G. Komen – Faces of a Warrior Mentorship Program, which was developed to help those faced with the diagnosis of breast cancer to find hope and courage through shared stories of others who have gone through it.
“Our mentorship actually begins every April and ends every March and we start a new class,” explained Susan G. Komen Executive Director Sherri Martens Curtis. “So we ask people from one year survivorship to we’ve got one who is a 19-year survivor, to be with that person and make sure to share and make people know there’s hope, courage, and strength at the end of their journey with breast cancer.”
On this special day, 11 breast cancer survivors are enjoying a dolphin encounter at the Miami Seaquarium, where the local attraction has donated their resources to allow these women to be one with nature and have fun with the mammals.
“This is such a wonderful opportunity, this is spectacular,” exclaimed mentor Betty Callender.
Spectacular and so meaningful to Olga to share so much with her friend Betty.
“What does it mean to you to have someone like Betty in your life,” CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo asked Olga.
“It’s amazing. It’s a great feeling to have someone to talk to. She’s been at it a lot longer. It’s a good feeling knowing I can pick up the phone and right away and she will text me back. I’m glad I have her,” Olga said.
Betty is a 19-year survivor and for her, it is all about paying it forward. She dedicates much of her life doing just that.
“It’s all about giving back because no matter how good a relationship you have with your family, they haven’t been through it. When you’re with somebody that has been through that and knows what you’re going through, it means everything,” Betty explained.
After some prep and instruction the ladies suit up and meet the dolphins first hand; petting, feeding and being splashed all in the name of sisterhood and fun. Of course, the best part of the day was that special kiss from a dolphin.
“This is so much fun,” shouted out all the ladies.
A day of just being together, worry-free, laughing and making memories which have extra special meaning for these women.
“It’s very heartwarming to know that you’re helping people, to know that you’re really helping them. For me, to be able to be there for them, it’s just, I can’t. I don’t have the words for it,” said Betty.
Those interested in Faces of a Warrior Mentorship Program, can reach Curtis by email at email@example.com or by phone at (954) 909-0458
If you are a mentor and would like to share your story with us, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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