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Women's Health

Reflexology and research help LI women stand up to breast cancer

Catherine Ptarcinski, a breast cancer survivor from Roslyn Heights, discovered an unconventional but effective way of coping with the discomfort of chemotherapy: reflexology.

Delivered by nurse reflexologist Linda Bardekoff, RN, the integrative therapy, which involves applying targeted pressure to the feet and hands, “took me away from my anxiety and helped me relax,” Catherine says.

Providing support services for cancer patients

Catherine’s reflexology sessions were arranged by Manhasset Women’s Coalition Against Breast Cancer (MWCABC), an all-volunteer charitable organization devoted to funding breast cancer research and providing education and support services for women diagnosed with the disease.

Catherine underwent breast cancer surgery, chemotherapy and reconstructive surgery at Monter Cancer Center. Through each step of her journey, she was guided by a MWCABC outreach care coach, a breast cancer survivor herself.

quotation mark [Reflexology] took me away from my anxiety and helped me relax.
Catherine Ptarcinski

Catherine and other patients at the center credit the support services they received through the MWCABC with helping them thrive during their cancer journey.

Funding research and giving back

MWCABC was founded in 1997 by a small group of women who shared a concern about the high rate of breast cancer on Long Island. Since then, the organization has grown in size and scope.   

To date, MWCABC has awarded over $4 million in research and outreach grants, including an $80,000 grant to Feinstein Institute for Medical Research investigator Betsy Barnes, PhD, for her research aimed at understanding the role of the immune system in breast tumor growth. 

Now cancer-free, Catherine is overwhelmingly grateful for the care and support services she received and is giving back to women newly diagnosed with breast cancer as a MWCABC care coach.

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