Survivors Offering Support logo - pink ribbon

Survivors Offering Support (SOS) is a resourceful network of women who have completed breast cancer treatment and are making a difference by offering their support and knowledge to newly-diagnosed patients.

The Breast Center at UM St. Joseph is proud to offer this valuable program under the leadership of Edla Coleman, a breast cancer survivor who knows the emotional impact that this diagnosis creates.

"We help women through the initial shock and then continue to provide them with vital support," she explains. "There's a big emotional gap with breast cancer. Your family tries to help, your friends try to help, but they don't really know what to say."

SOS mentors are expertly trained volunteers who not only know what to say, but will meet in person, help patients communicate with their physicians, provide computer resources, and are available by phone whenever needed. This psychosocial and emotional support is integrated into St. Joseph's standard of care.

The program was founded by survivor Denise O'Neill, who was recognized with the 2007 Daily Record Healthcare Heroes Award for Community Outreach.

"At first, the emotional response to a breast cancer diagnosis is total devastation, but a little later you begin to understand there are gifts to this experience, and SOS is here to support women through the journey," says Coleman.

To learn more about the program, become a volunteer mentor or be assigned a mentor, please contact: Edla Coleman, SOS Coordinator at 410-427-2513 or

For Patients

Survivors Offering Support (SOS)

  • If facing breast cancer, put the power of 2 to work for you.
  • Request a Mentor: Survivors Offering Support (SOS) matches survivor mentors with those who have just received a diagnosis. Call 410-427-2513 or email

Partner Support

  • For spouses, partners and caregivers of breast cancer.

Transition to Wellness: Jumpstart Your Entry into Survivorship

  • A toolkit to successfully enter life after breast cancer.

For Mentors

SOS Mentors

  • Are you a proud survivor? Be a mentor! Mentor training is ongoing throughout the year. Please call 410-427-2513 for more information.


  • is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the most reliable, complete, and up-to-date information about breast cancer
  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure® is the world's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists, working together to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures.

Mentor Request Form

The Mentor Request Form should be completed by those persons recently diagnosed with breast cancer that would like to be matched with an SOS mentor.

SOS mentors are breast cancer survivors themselves, and volunteer their time to give a sympathetic listening ear, share experiences of complementary therapies, but above all can bring understanding to the experience of newly diagnosed patients. Mentors provide an invaluable "buddy support system" and support the member over the course of the year.

The mentors are required to complete a training program that includes information on the following: therapeutic listening and communication, general breast anatomy, the breast cancer disease process, how to communicate with your doctor, and what breast cancer resources are available in the area.

Mentors are not trained to provide clinical education, treatment recommendations, or medical opinions to program members. If this level of information is requested, the mentor will refer the member back to their health care provider for appropriate guidance.

The information provided below will be utilized by the SOS Volunteer Coordinator to provide you with the best match. No other information will be provided to the Volunteer Coordinator or mentor from UM St. Joseph Medical Center. Additional information shared with the Volunteer Coordinator or mentor is strictly at your discretion.