‘It saved my life’: Breast cancer support group moves to Bristol | WJHL

BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – A breast cancer support group is moving to the area with the help of a Tri-Cities resident.

Surviving breast cancer was the first battle for Bristol resident Beverly McGee, but the next came during recovery.

“You end up after the treatment kind of taken aback,” McGee said. “You are no longer yourself. You don’t know what to do next. You don’t know where to turn.

McGee is the regional director of the new breast cancer support group coming to the area.

Breast Cancer Recovery in Action or BRA offers support to people going through the recovery process by connecting them with other survivors, providing fitness and nutrition programs to help them rebuild their health and helping to develop a plan for life after cancer.

“Usually, let’s say it’s mind, body, spirit recovery after going through all the medical stuff,” McGee said.

The program started during the pandemic in Middle Tennessee with just three sites. Since then it has had 11 locations and is now moving to Bristol.

When McGee moved to Bristol in 2021 from Middle Tennessee, she asked if they could connect to the Tri-Cities. The agreed program.

Co-Founder and Executive Director Nancy Brown is proud of the program’s evolution and looks forward to this upcoming expansion.

“So we’ve mentored thousands of people since being diagnosed ourselves and having experience in programming,” Brown said. “And so we just thought ‘ask if we could just start a nonprofit and do this? We had no funding. We just had a lot of enthusiasm and passion for what we do.

BRA has mentored hundreds of people since its founding through their program activities and personal relationships.

These two women want people to know that BRA and the support it provides can be life changing.

“And it gave me the uplifting love and support I needed. Honestly, I would say it saved my life,” McGee said.

“If we can give back, if we can share the things we’ve learned, and the contacts we’ve made along the way, and the resources we’ve gathered, and we can sit down with someone who just being diagnosed and their doctor said, ‘you have aggressive cancer,” Brown said. “So we can say, ‘Well, what does that really mean? I’m a 22 year old survivor and my prognosis wasn’t great to begin with either, so here I am 22 years later and you can be too.

The new group starts in January 2023 in the Bristol area. You can find out more about the group and its events on its website at www.bragroup.org.

Virginia S. Braud