Costco: Breast Cancer Sisterhood

by Shana McNally

“All of us who are in this ‘club,’ if you like, feel we’re sisters to one another. It’s a profoundly shared experience that can’t be explained, no matter how hard you try, unless you’ve actually been there,” says Brenda Coffee, a Costco member in Sonterra Park, Texas.

The “club” she refers to, and to which she belongs, is that of breast cancer survivors.

In November 2009, Coffee launched the Breast Cancer Sisterhood (http://www.breastcancersisterhood.com), a resource for all things related to living with and surviving breast cancer.

Coffee’s site was originally set up as a nonprofit, but the recession prompted her to go in a different direction. She started the Survivorship Media Network, LLC, to fill the gap for families of patienets, from the point of diagnosis to treatment to getting on with their lives.

“I know what cancer families need,” says Coffee, 61, who has also authored two guidebooks, one providing patient advice and the other for husbands acting as caregivers. “I believe I am where I am for a reason. In addition to being a breast cancer survivor, I know what it’s like to be the child of a parent who died of cancer and carefiver to my late husband, who died of cancer.

Fifteen thousands visitors a month learn from the website’s 100 or so original videos, FAQs, contributing experts (including a registered dietitian and a make-up artist), an award-winning blog, a Retail Therapy page, links to other leading cancer-related sites and more.