Posted December 18, 2017, in

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The experience of working as a research assistant with the Advanced Breast Cancer Group was, for me, unique and unexpected. While working for the service, I was enlightened by hearing of the experiences that women have of living with a terminal diagnosis. I quickly learnt that these stories are varied, marked by thedifferent personalities, families, and life experiences that form theconstellation of each individual. I was privileged to meet women in the group, as well as their friends and family members, and see the immense joy that being a member in such a close knit group brings to people who face great suffering. I had the great privilege of bearing witness to conversations by Mary and Pia who hold the women in the group (both past and present) in very high regard, and have incredible respect for their experiences. I was intrigued by the offering of this bespoke group that honoured the individual rather than casting labels upon those who may fit into a similar diagnostic category. The ABCG knows that each one comes with their own perspectives, challenges, family, priorities, values – all those things that make us truly unique. I appreciate that it never seeks to treat a “community” but journey together with individuals, bringing them into community with one another, and acknowledging the healing power of free expression in relationships. I hope that this group continues to see and prioritise the individual, in whatever it grows to become in the near or distant future.