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Sisters at Heart was formed in 2007 with the hope that the group might make a difference in the lives of women diagnosed with breast cancer. Each member has faced the reality of our diagnosis and its impact on their lives. The group shares their hopes, fears and tears.

Meeting on a monthly basis, participants in Sisters at Heart draw strength and comfort from each other as they travel this road together. Daytime meetings are held at the Richard R. Clark Senior Center (1210 Charles Street, La Plata) the fourth Monday of the month from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (January to September). Some meetings are held off-site. November and December gatherings are held earlier in the month due to the holidays. Please call 301-934-5423 for more information.

Sisters at Heart has talked to many women at different events and realized they were unable to join during the day due to working schedules, so two ladies decided it was time to branch into evening meetings as well. The first meeting was held this past August. They meet the second Tuesday of the month from 6-8 p.m. at the Greene Turtle, 6 St. Mary’s Avenue, La Plata. For more information, please call Debbie Ward at 703-283-7598.

Over the past few years, Sisters at Heart has focused on spreading awareness throughout the community. They staff exhibits, provide speakers, tell stories and remind women to do monthly breast checks, have yearly clinical exams and, if old enough, to have yearly mammograms.

Sisters at Heart also supports groups and organizations in their efforts to promote breast cancer awareness by providing educational materials and pink accessories. You might see pink ribbon knee highs and hot pink shoelaces at local school sport team events.

In addition, the group donates toys and assists with toy distribution for Christmas Connection, a local holiday program. Sisters decorate two Christmas trees: one for the Richard R. Clark Senior Center, the other in the lobby of University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center. The “Shades of Pink” trees promotes breast cancer awareness and the importance of early detection.

They also partner with the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center and the Richard R. Clark Senior Center Council to organize a free annual Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon. Sisters at Heart honors breast cancer survivors and, in 2012, the speaker was Andrea Roane.

Join them this year at the Richard R. Clark Senior Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 24 as two of the area’s most knowledgeable voices on breast cancer diagnosis and treatment share their insights. This year’s speaker will be Susan Beth Kesmodel, MD, assistant professor of surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Opening remarks will be made by Eleannor Faherty, MD, general surgeon at the University of Maryland Charles Regional Surgical Care. Luncheon will be catered by Apple Spice Junction. To register, please call 301-934-5423.

Sisters at Heart is thankful to the community for supporting the group’s efforts to promote breast cancer awareness. Local merchants are very generous in donating door prizes for our breast cancer events, including La Plata Outback, La Plata Chick-fil-A and Fran’s Nu Image.

Sisters at Heart Fund is a component fund of the Community Foundation of Southern Maryland, a 501 (c)(3) public charity. Their heartfelt thanks for all donations made and to those who held fundraisers this year on our behalf, including Barefoot Graphics, University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center, La Plata Blue Knights, Exercise for a Cause (RRCSC), Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, Shiloh United Methodist Church, Richard R. Clark Senior Center Council, ABC Fitness & Wellness, Eta Omicron Sigma Chapter, Sigma Gamma Rho Society, Inc. and Michael Tractor Herbert & Andrew Stringer, who created the first annual Breast Cancer in April Poker Run.

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Participants pose after joining “Exercise for a Cause,” a fundraiser for Sisters at Heart. The fitness class was organized by Debi Shanks, fitness coordinator at the Richard R. Clark Senior Center in La Plata.