Cancer affects all of us in some way or another. The American Cancer Society projects 1,660,290 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed this year alone.
Strength in Numbers
In conjunction with the care and support of a medical staff, cancer support resources and groups offer relief, comfort, and answers to patients. Support groups provide a platform to share and advise through the challenges of cancer. It’s through personal stories, understanding, and willingness to aid in daily tasks that support groups succeed in strengthening a patient’s emotional and physical wellbeing.
The benefits of joining a support group are numerous and include the trading of experiences and information, helping to deter isolation, lending a branch of hope, support, and encouragement, self-esteem enhancement, and offering a cost-effective course of assisting with cancer treatment. Research has shown that patients who become a part of a support group have a higher quality of life than those that do not.
Our area offers many outstanding cancer support resources.
The Danville Cancer Association (DCA) is a non-profit organization that receives its funding through help from the United Way as well as numerous local fundraising events. DCA provides support to area cancer patients by offering financial assistance to help with transportation, medication, and supply needs while the patients undergo treatment for their cancer. DCA also holds monthly support groups for cancer survivors.
Another excellent community resource is the Cancer Resource Center of Southern Virginia and The Office for Community Research and Education located at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville. The Cancer Resource Center of Southern Virginia was established in 2011 with a mission to facilitate the availability of local, state, and national cancer programs and resources to individuals living in the Dan River Region. The Center is an information hub of local cancer resources. “Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is devastating and life-changing. We are here to make a survivor’s journey easier at any stage of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery,” says Melanie Vaughn, who, along with Charlotte Litzenberg, are the Resource Center Coordinators. The Resource Center is part of an initiative through the VCU Massey Cancer Center and funded by a grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission.
The Wayles R. Harrison Memorial Fund is an independently funded entity that assists local cancer patients, in need, through financial assistance with prescriptions, medical supplies, and other needs as well.
The American Cancer Society has a local community branch in Martinsville. Many churches have faith-based cancer support programs as well.
Legacy Hospice of the Piedmont, Liberty Home Care & Hospice, Commonwealth Home Health & Hospice, and Hospice of Memorial Hospital in Martinsville provide group grief counseling services and do not require that a person have had any direct affiliation with the hospice agency. These grief support groups are generally open to anyone in the community who needs support.
Bettering Quality of Life Through Caring
The stress of transportation to doctor’s appointments and treatments can weigh heavily on cancer patients and their caregivers. Services provided by the Cancer Resource Center and the Danville Cancer Association are available to help ease this burden. For example, the Cancer Resource Center has created a brochure that details all of the transportation services available to cancer patients in the Dan River Region. The Danville Cancer Association also has resources available to help with transportation for cancer patients.
Area support groups also provide a strong framework for patients, who may be reluctant to join a group out of fear of facing the everyday realities of cancer. But, in most cases, the opposite is true. Support groups work as a safety net. Cancer patients inevitably will have ups and downs. Along with their medical team and families, support groups are there to support and assist patients.
Individuals whose cancer is in remission can still gain value from support groups. Those finished with treatment who remain active in a group can receive the continued support of dealing with survivor issues as well as becoming a guide for those patients just beginning their journey to recovery.
A cancer diagnosis happens not only to the patient, but also their family and friends. The term survivor refers to anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, from the day of the diagnosis, and their caregiver.
We are all in this together. We are survivors.
For more information:
Danville Cancer Association
223 Riverview Drive. Suite J
Cancer Resource Center of Southern Virginia