A Survivor Creates a Cancer Support Center

Diagnosed with breast cancer, Susan Kapadia needed more support than her family—or her small community—could provide.

Illustration of woman's dark hair turning into birds

The Places You'll Go by Lucy Campbell

"To be very honest, I struggled for two years with cancer,” says Susan Kapadia. “I was very depressed. I owned a restaurant here in Ojai, California, and was diagnosed five months after I opened it. My oncologist recommended that I close the restaurant because 16-hour days were not working for me. So I sold the restaurant and spent a good portion of those two years in a pity party. One day, I went to my oncologist in Santa Barbara and told the nurse there, ‘I’m having a very difficult time entering the world again. I really don’t know how to remake myself. I’m lost.’ She grabbed my hand and led me across the parking lot to the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Santa Barbara. As soon as I entered, they met me with hugs, and I knew I’d met my people.”Susan became a volunteer at the Center, and the work filled her with joy—and fueled her desire to provide this kind of loving support in her hometown. She enrolled in a patient advocate training program at UCLA and, after receiving her certificate, began to pursue her dream of building a cancer care center in Ojai.In the fall of 2012, Renee Mandala, a lactatio …

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CancerMental Health