Charmayne Dierker

Daily Point of Light # 1532 Dec 17, 1999

Mrs. Charmayne Dierker is described as a "magnificent and incredibly caring woman who has devoted her life to helping mothers and daughters all over the world cope with breast cancer." Dierker was devastated when she learned that her only daughter had breast cancer at the age of 38. She searched for support groups whose purpose was to help mothers cope but to no avail. Dierker, along with her daughter, Lillie Shockney, a breast cancer survivor twice over, founded Mothers Supporting Daughters with Breast Cancer (MSDBC), a national nonprofit organization.

MSDBC was founded in March 1995. The support services provided by this organization are free and are designed to help mothers who have daughters battling with breast cancer. Support is provided in a variety of ways including one-on-one support by mother volunteers who have experienced firsthand the trauma and challenges of having a daughter that is diagnosed with breast cancer. MSDBC also funds the distribution of a mother's handbook and daughter's companion brochure to provide guidance as to how mothers can be helpful to their daughters during her treatment. Medical consultation is not provided but MSDBC can answer general questions about the disease and its treatment.

MSDBC provides a forum for mothers to exchange ideas regarding coping mechanisms that have been tried by others and found to be beneficial. They promote open and frank communication between mothers who are jointly experiencing the same painful effects that breast cancer has on a family. They provide a safe, confidential and supportive atmosphere where women can discuss with others who are experiencing similar concerns the difficulties associated with their daughters' diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. For mothers who are breast cancer survivors themselves, they provide an opportunity to express the guilt-ridden emotions associated with the genetic link and to recall their own personal breast cancer experiences.

MSDBC goals are to provide basic medical information about breast cancer as a disease and the various treatments that patients may receive, to provide a local, regional and national network for mothers and daughters to communicate with and receive support from other mothers and daughters who are also currently experiencing or have experienced the impact that breast cancer has on them as women and as mother and daughter, to receive at designated intervals a newsletter for mother volunteers containing updates about breast cancer research initiatives, innovative treatments, educational programs available about breast cancer, and legislative information about regulations associated with breast care and treatment and to participate whenever possible in local, regional and national efforts to increase breast cancer awareness and promote breast cancer prevention.

Dierker has helped thousands of mothers and daughters in addition to sending free coping materials to those who request it. Additionally, she responds to inquiries for help via e-mail, phone and fax 24 hours a day, seven days a week.