Meet Corinne Pichard, volunteer and referent of the association “Vivre Comme Avant
Hi Corinne! Thank you for your time. Let’s start with a classic question. Can you briefly introduce yourself and your association?
Hi! I’ve been working as a volunteer for the “Vivre comme avant” association for 4 years. I’m Vice-President and the contact person for a part of the Paris area. But above all, I’m a volunteer at Institut Curie in Paris. I go there every Tuesday morning.
“Vivre comme avant” is an association run by women volunteers who have had breast cancer. They’re here to listen to women affected by this disease and support their needs at any time, from their diagnosis, through their treatment pathway and beyond. They share their experiences in face-to-face appointments in hospitals or outside, via phone calls or emails and give them the prospect of a very satisfying quality of life after treatments. These conversations are confidential.
What inspires you in your mission?
What inspires me in my mission is to be able to bring emotional and individual support to the women I meet or I talk to over the phone. Women can feel understood and speak openly about their fears, emotions and difficulties. I can answer their questions. I have time for that, which is not always the case with overloaded medical staff.
How is the association organized locally and nationally?
This is a national association. We have about 100 volunteers in 40 cities and 70 public and private hospitals across France. We visit 7,000 patients and make 2,000 calls in a year. We are independent but grouped in regional units. We all meet at the general meeting once a year. And we also receive training courses that allow us to be together.
I guess that behind your humility are things that you’re particularly proud of…
We’re proud of this voluntary work which is a genuine message of hope for all those women we meet.
How can I be of any help if I’ve never faced this disease?
Each one of us can help patients with breast cancer by surrounding them with kindness and asking them if there’s anything you can do to help. Some women will be happy to be accompanied when they undergo medical examination, others will prefer to go out or get help with shopping or their kids… Each time I visit someone is a unique and very rewarding moment. Our association depends entirely on donations. Visiting a patient costs €15. If you want to support us, you can donate online on our website “Vivre comme avant”. Go to “Faites un don”you can also make a check out to “Vivre comme avant” and send it at 14 rue Corvisart 75013 Paris. You can request a tax receipt.
Any last word you’d like to say?
You can find our new brochure containing all our tips and gestures to adopt for a better observation of your breasts here.