URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — In 2020, the CDC reported that 9,839 women in Illinois were diagnosed with breast cancer. Now, there’s one Coles County woman using her experience to help others navigate the whole process.

When Linda Coleman heard the words “you have breast cancer” three years ago, her mind started spinning.

“I just really had a hard time absorbing everything that I was facing,” she described.

Even with a 43-year nursing career and a strong support system, she said it was very overwhelming and a lot to take on. It started when she felt a lump only eight months after a routine mammogram. She got the diagnosis shortly after.

“They showed me where I’d be receiving the treatments and all I did was cry,” Coleman said.

Now, she’s aiming to make it easier for people, ensuring others don’t feel the same. To do that, she’s volunteering at Sarah Bush Lincoln in Mattoon.

“I would love to be there to help sort that info out, and even accompany them to chemo,” Coleman said. “I would do anything that a breast cancer patient might need or want.”

She was able to ring the bell with her support system complete with doctors, nurses and her family. Now, she’s getting ready to step up and be that foundation for others.

“If I can help someone through that, to adjust, to what their new temporary norm is, I really would love it and it would mean a lot to me to be able to offer that,” Coleman said.

She still sees doctors regularly to make sure she’s okay herself, but that’s not holding her back. She’s ready to go and help people at the Sarah Bush Lincoln Cancer Center.

If you were just diagnosed and want to get in touch with Coleman for support, you can call the center at 217-258-2525 and they’ll help you get in touch. You can also reach out to the volunteer guild via email at volunteerservices@sblhs.org or 217-258-2500.