When Melissa Angiolillo was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2015, she had all the support of her husband, family and friends. But what she really needed was someone who had gone through what she was about to experience, someone who knew what it was like to face a stage III breast cancer diagnosis.
Enter Noel Peters.
“From the very beginning, I was given the opportunity, because of [Noel], to just be real about my diagnosis and to not feel that pressure of putting on a happy face,” says Angiolillo. “I hope that one day I will be able to do for even one young woman what [Noel] has done for me.”
Peters was matched with Angiolillo as part of the SoulMates program offered to breast cancer patients through the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber. The peer support program pairs survivor mentors with new patients who have similar diagnoses.
Both Angiolillo and Peters began to meet shortly after Angiolillo’s diagnosis and a connection formed immediately. Now, as both women are finished active treatment, the mentor-mentee relationship has blossomed into a friendship beyond breast cancer.
Hear their story by listening to the podcast episode below or click “download” to listen later. Subscribe options are also available via iTunes, Android and RSS.
The Voices podcast series features stories from cancer patients who share their experiences coping with their life-changing diagnoses and treatment. Season 1 of Voices features breast cancer patients. Visit the Voices page for more episodes and Dana-Farber’s podcast page for more information on other cancer podcast series.
Editor’s note: Judie and Larry Schlager have made several generous gifts to help establish and grow the SoulMates program.