Breast cancer pairing creates more than friendship
by Bradley Hartsell
Jennifer Bentley was nervous and she was scared. Last November, she was about to have surgery for her recent breast cancer diagnosis. Not sure what to expect, she called Stephanie Martin, Piedmont Newnan’s nurse navigator. Martin connected Bentley with Stephanie Moore, who was battling breast cancer at the same time and had her surgery just before Bentley was about to.
Bentley called Moore without hesitation. She assured Bentley there was nothing to worry about, everything was going to be fine. Bentley moved to Newnan from Ohio for a job transfer, and with her family still up north, she was needing the comfort Moore was providing her.
“How many do you know going through that at that moment? We bonded. We became very close,” said Bentley. “She comforted me in the beginning, and then we just started talking regularly after that. When I was having a bad day, she’d comfort me and I’d comfort her on her bad days.”
Bentley’s husband lost his job while she was going through treatment and the financial burden of medical costs was taking its toll on the family. Stephanie Martin connected Bentley with Newnan-based group Bridging the Gap, which helped with food, and Salvation Army, which provided both payment for food and electricity. The Coweta-based One Roof Outreach chipped in with a $500 advancement on the Bentleys’ rent.
Through the peaks and valleys of struggles and helping hands, Bentley felt she had a kindred spirit in Moore. Moore was a mother of two when she was diagnosed with the most common type of breast cancer, invasive ductal carcinoma. Her medication and chemotherapy schedules lined up perfectly with Bentley’s, which only strengthened their belief they were meant to be pillars for one another.
“Beyond friendship, she gave me real emotional support, she completely related to me,” said Moore. “You have your friends and your family, but to have somebody else going through the same exact thing as you, it’s just a deeper connection.”
Moore also mentioned specifically how Bentley’s support “balanced her out,” and helped her through those bad days, which she reciprocated for Bentley.
Now almost a year since they were diagnosed, both Bentley and Moore are happy and cancer-free. The two still talk regularly and still lean on each other when they need to. Moore and Bentley were both due for reconstruction surgery, only this time, Bentley was the one who went first.
“I told her there’s nothing to be afraid of,” said Bentley. “I feel like God’s brought us together through all of this.”
Moore is due to for surgery in the coming weeks and says Bentley continues to guide her along and support her. Both women indicated how tumultuous diagnosis and treatment are and the importance of staying positive. Bentley said, “at no point did I feel like giving up.” She believes her and Moore’s ability to stay positive and keep winning attitudes were big contributors to their eventual cancer-free news.
“We’ve come a long way, we’ve had a very rocky road. We’ve been positive throughout it all,” said Bentley.
They may not talk or text every day anymore as their lives have returned mostly to normal, but the hours spent supporting one another in the times both dark and joyful are enough to last a life time.