Due to the arbitrary way that Medicare and private insurance companies decide what is medically necessary and what is optional, breast cancer patients are often left paying for lymphedema sleeves – which control swelling after a mastectomy – themselves. Those who cannot afford them go without and suffer.
It Takes a Villager
Susan Niebur, astrophysicist, mother, currently undergoing treatments for a fourth reoccurence of the disease, wants to ensure that all breast cancer patients have access to lymphedema sleeves, gauntlets, and/or gloves, and she’s taken to the blogging community via her own site, Toddler Planet, to ask for help raising money to make this happen.
Using Social Media to Promote Awareness
To generate donations to organizations devoted to providing lymphedema sleeves Niebur wrote the following in a post to her readers,
Today, I am pleased to announce a NEW opportunity for breast cancer survivors who have had a mastectomy and/or axillary dissection of the lymph nodes due to breast cancer and have swelling of one or both arms but cannot afford the $200-$500+ cost for two sets of the compression sleeves and gauntlets that survivors with lymphedema must wear every day to keep the swelling in check.
Although lymphedema sleeves are medically necessary, they are not covered by Medicare OR most insurance plans under current law, and thousands of survivors go without the sleeves, needlessly suffering congestion, swelling, and pain that interferes with their normal activities.
Two Organizations Making a Difference
Cricket’s Answer, a non-profit organization founded in memory of Cricket Julius has teamed up with LymphaDIVAs to make sure that all breast cancer survivors who need sleeves, gauntlets and gloves, will have them. People can donate through Cricket’s Answer’s website.
Niebur asked that her readers promote the cause via their blogs or other social media accounts and to email the appeal to friends. She also urged readers to contact Congress in support of the Lymphedema Treatment Act bill designed to change the rules that make it impossible for some patients to get the treatment they need.
Online communities increasingly play important roles in social change and raising awareness, but it’s thanks to bloggers like Susan Niebur that these things happen, and it’s proof that one person really can make a difference.
Photo credit: Rockets Against Breast Cancer by Erik Carlton