Support, Encouragement and Hope

Women’s Cancer Education and Support Group

By Jillian Chandler

For those women who have been diagnosed with cancer, knowing and connecting with others in the community who are also suffering from the emotional and physical battles that accompany the diagnosis can ease the pain and burden, even if for one afternoon a month. A place to join others who are ready to listen to and encourage you through one of the most difficult—if not most trying—times in your life can brighten your spirits in times of desperation.


One local group that continues to be there for those who have been diagnosed with cancer is the Bonners Ferry Women’s Cancer Education and Support Group. For two decades, this group of women, both those who have been diagnosed with cancer, as well as those who have beaten cancer, have gathered monthly to share their stories and encourage one another, engage in group discussions, as well as presentations by guest speakers.


“When we have a new person join us, we try to go around the table and relay what type of cancer we had,” shares Virginia Sanborn, member and treasurer. “Tears are shed, and laughs, as we try to keep it light too.”


Though currently on hold due to the pandemic, meetings are held the fourth Monday of each month at the Panhandle Health Building Meeting Room. Though they have been unable to hold their gatherings in recent months, Virginia wants to assure the community that the group is still active, giving out monthly gas cards for Boundary County cancer patients traveling for appointments and treatments.


“As soon as things start opening up, we’ll start meeting again,” she smiles.


Virginia herself is a breast cancer survivor and joined the Women’s Cancer Education and Support Group roughly 16 years ago after her own diagnosis, taking on the role of treasurer shortly after.


Donations from local groups and individuals make it possible for the group to provide gas vouchers to women, men or children who travel out of Boundary County for cancer treatments or appointments.


If you would like to make a donation to help those in our community who are battling cancer, you can reach out to Virginia Sanborn at 208.267.2711.


“I call this my baby. I’ve always believed in this from my heart; just helping people,” says Virginia. “They need help—and love.”



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