SHAREing & CAREing was founded May 7, 1994 by Anna Kril, Carol Scarano, Lucille Hartmann and Mary Demakos to serve and support women diagnosed with and treated for breast and other cancer exclusive to women. They offer a wide range of services ranging from providing transportation for women undergoing treatment to pharmaceutical assistance and hair prosthetics to breast cancer educational outreach to schools, churches and civic organizations and support group meetings. Since their creation in 1994, they have helped so many women in finding treatment, and comforting them in their final days.
Anna Kril is one of the founders of SHAREing and CAREing, an organization started by a group of survivors who wanted to help those who suffer with this disease and instill in them the belief that one can never lose hope. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993, she made a promise to herself that she would turn this diagnosis into something positive. Anna saw how fortunate she was to have a support network of friends, family and physicians to help her overcome the challenge but she realized that many others were not as fortunate. New York City, specifically Queens, did not offer services for those affected by breast cancer beyond the clinical setting. While her accomplishments and accolades are vast, Anna continually strives to advocate for those who need it most. In the coming years she wants the ability to share with and assist more individuals in their struggles and would like to reach out to the younger generations so that they are better informed. “No one should suffer alone. Practical needs must be met with the individual and family receiving support during treatment and while in remission.”
For years Anna Zabniak worked in health care, as an assistant for a prominent, local physician. Always one to advocate for the patient, she was deeply loved by both the staff and patients. When her daughter-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer, she witnessed firsthand, the devastating effects if has on the individual and the family.
Eartha Washington has over 31 years of professional experience and is a vital asset to SHAREing and CAREing. As vice president, Eartha is in charge of providing cancer survivors and their families support through lecturing and counseling services and offering educational services to the general public.
Diagnosed in 1986 with breast cancer, Lucille remembers the devastating feeling of being told the biopsy was positive. The positive diagnosis instilled a feeling of devastating fear as she knew little of this disease. Often people would refer to it as the “Big C”, just to say the word Cancer was intimidating. Being that she didn’t know of any support groups, she turned to her immediate family for much needed support and encouragement. This lack of support she felt when diagnosed ignited her drive to join Anna Kril. She joined Anna Kril, Carol Scarano and Mary Demakos and together they founded SHAREing & CAREing.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer over 20 years ago. At the time of my diagnosis I had three children living at home. As a mother you try to shield your children from your own fears. You reassure them that everything will be fine. You go on as normally you would. You go to work, shop, and keep up your outward appearance. Actually I was frightened. I had no one to confide in, I thought who would understand. It was a feeling of helplessness. When my friend Mary was diagnosed a few years later I made sure I was there for her to reassure her. I had beat breast cancer and so would she. Having support at the time of diagnosis and having someone who understands this disease accompany you to treatment is very important.
Mary Demakos, who serves as Treasurer of SHAREing & CAREing, has been involved in the nonprofit organization from its conception. A breast cancer survivor, she was contacted through a mutual friend, when Anna Kril was first diagnosed. “Back when the doctor told me I had breast cancer, I didn’t want to talk about it. No one wanted to talk about it. No one shared their diagnosis. Cancer was a word you didn’t say.” Reaching out to Anna Kril, their friendship and mutual support of each other blossomed into the desire to assist others in a similar situation. “We started as a small group and that ordinary group turned into an extended family.”
Merryl Reichbach, LCSW, ACE, MA, returns to SHAREing & CAREing in January 2016 as Program Manager. She brings over 20 years of experience helping others as a therapist, teacher, and program director. Merryl takes a holistic point of view, integrating her expertise as a licensed clinical social worker, art therapist, certified holistic health coach, writer and personal trainer to provide support to individuals newly diagnosed, in active treatment, survivors, caregivers, and families and friends.