From Diagnosis to Surviving and Thriving

How Sandy Borrelli faces cancer and embraces life.

A long time friend and supporter to The Gathering Place, Sandy Borrelli shares her story about her cancer journey.

Sandy Borrelli first became involved with The Gathering Place as a supporter and friend to the organization fifteen years ago. As a hair stylist and co-owner of Bella Capelli Sanctuario, Sandy would refer clients touched by cancer to The Gathering Place as well as help them cope with the loss of hair due to treatment. Sandy’s relationship with The Gathering Place changed when, in 2007, she was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic melanoma and underwent intensive treatment and surgery. Sandy got involved at The Gathering Place as a participant, attending writing workshops and joining the Dragon Boat team. As her grandchildren grew older, she involved them in the children’s programing as well. Sandy attributes the children’s programming at The Gathering Place with helping her grandchildren understand her illness and adjust to the changes that the cancer diagnosis brought to the family.“There’s nothing like it anywhere”, Borrelli passionately states as she explains the importance of taking care of the whole patient and not just focusing on the cancer diagnosis. She emphasizes that The Gathering Place is a community here to support a group of people who, otherwise, don’t have anywhere else to go.

As a woman who lives every day to the fullest, Sandy did not let her cancer diagnosis stymie her passion for life and her sense of adventure. Now cancer free for 11 years, Sandy is an active member of the board as well as a key contributor to the Regina Brett Wig Salon. Coming full circle with her cancer journey, Sandy continues to help women who are losing their hair due to treatment. She continues to refer clients to The Gathering Place, advocating for self-care and holistic wellness in addition to the medical treatment of cancer. “It’s not just about the wig”, Sandy explains, “There’s more to it”. Sandy urges clients and participants to take care of themselves and practice mindfulness, whether through yoga, exercise, support groups, or Reiki, to ensure they are treating all aspects of their health. Sandy is excited to be a part of The Gathering Place as the organization continues to grow and spread awareness about the needs of our community.

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