You’ve got a friend in Bosom Buddies

Karen Coney Coplin

In 1994, Bosom Buddies Breast Cancer Support Inc. was founded as a local Naples non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to provide financial assistance to those in need of screening and treatment care for breast cancer and related conditions, such as lymphedema.

Hand-in-hand with addressing the economic issues confronting under or uninsured women with breast cancer are educational and emotional support programs (“Sharing and Caring”) available to Bosom Buddies clients as well as caregivers and family.

Most clients come to Bosom Buddies by way of medical referral – often when the diagnosis is made; as Joetta Abbazio, Bosom Buddies’ founder, notes, “This news is devastating to hear.”

Sometimes an irregularity is noted on a mammogram. Sometimes other symptoms suggest further tests. Fortunately, all medical facilities which refer patients from Naples, Immokalee and Bonita Springs are well aware of the services offered by Bosom Buddies.

Moving on from this news, women (and some men have breast cancer, too) seek further confirmation of the nature of their diagnosis which may mean ultrasound screenings, MRIs, PET scans and tissue biopsies, among other procedures.

Bosom Buddies also steps in to aid local breast cancer patients as they move forward in a treatment plan and onward to becoming breast cancer survivors. In some cases, Bosom Buddies clients/patients will receive assistance covering their normal living expenses during the sometimes trying and fatiguing time of treatment and recovery.

With early detection, breast cancer can be treated – and beaten. Self exams and mammograms may pick up on symptoms indicating cancer exists even if other symptoms are silent. And, even for those who are diagnosed with later stages forms of cancer, there are many avenues to slow the spread of the disease; to inform the patient and her family of options in that regard, and, overall, provide the emotional and informed support which reduces the stress of facing an illness such as this.

Healing and wellness (or remission) is best served in an environment in which external stresses are minimized.

For 25 years, Bosom Buddies has fulfilled its mission of helping, healing, listening and informing those with breast cancer. Many of the Board and most volunteers are breast cancer survivors and all know someone whose life has been touched by breast cancer.

You can be a part of its ongoing mission by offering financial support (; becoming a volunteer (email;or sharing news of the organization’s thrice-monthly support group meetings (held on the second and last Wednesday of each month from 7 p.m. – plus one other at noon on the third Wednesday of each month).

These group meetings are held at the downtown location of the NCH Baker Hospital, Telford education building classroom 2.

This issue covers August, September and October – the latter being Breast Cancer Awareness month (as well as liver cancer awareness,too). Many cancer forms, including childhood cancers, are the focus of September. Whatever form of cancer affects you or your loved ones – for most cases of breast cancer, a woman’s face is behind the disease- mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend, or colleague. Bosom Buddies is committed to helping each and everyone of them in their path to celebrate survival.

Email Karen at if you want to suggest a future article idea about a local not-for-profit. She moved to Naples in 1994, the same year Bosom Buddies was founded here. Twenty five years later, their educational and support mission, along with all the survivors they’ve helped along the way, is to be applauded.

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