BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The journey of fighting breast cancer is a challenging one. One local survivor group wants to help by opening up their hearts and their closet.
“When you open up a storage unit you usually expect to just see things thrown in there,” said Jennifer Hennick.
But inside My Sister's Healing Closet, you will find hope for healing.
Hennick knows the breast cancer journey all too well. After being diagnosed with breast cancer at just 28 years old, not only did Jennifer beat it, but she went on to become a nurse practitioner at the AIS Breast Cancer Center. She works there with breast cancer patients everyday.
“When you are diagnosed you think right away, 'Oh my gosh I am going to die,' and so I think when you see somebody that is a long term survivor, it kind of gives them that hope,” said Jennifer.
Her experience with young breast cancer patients like her inspired her to start up the Young Survival Coalition. It provides a support system for local patients diagnosed with breast cancer early on in life.
“It just helps make the journey that much easier for them," she said.
This year, she and members of her group opened My Sister's Healing Closet, a central place to fulfill needs big and small after diagnosis.
"What makes this place so great is that most of the things that are in this closet have come from our girls during their treatment. Once we have completed treatment we still have all of these things in our closet that we no longer use.”
Items like wigs, scarves, blankets, walkers, hats and other items are donated by local breast cancer survivors.
“A lot of them remember that when they were going through this they were completely alone. They didn’t know what to expect. They didn’t know what they were going to need," said Jennifer. "For them to be able to now give that back and hopefully give that to someone right at the start so they don’t have to experience any of that stress.”
Jennifer says she hopes whether it's supplies, a book, or a hat, each sister's strength is passed along.
“There is a lot of trauma and healing in all of these items, and to be able to give that to somebody else is amazing."