Cancer Community Gathering – Effingham
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), approximately 1,685,210 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in 2016 in the United States. These staggering numbers mean that you, a family member, or someone you know more than likely has cancer. Cancer is a disease that affects not only the patient but also the family, caregivers, and friends. This disease has become a roller coaster for so many. Although there are many people in the Effingham and surrounding area affected by this disease, there is not a good support system in place for everyone. This is the reason Stephanie Jackson from Crossroads Cancer Center and Maddie Johnson from HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital have decided to team up and meet this need in our community.
Starting March 15, 2017, there will be a place to not only come together as a cancer community but to come together for some much-needed fun and support. The typical support group sits in a circle and shares their story and people try to find something they connect with or are able to find a way to deal with their current situation. This group will be anything but typical. The goal of the group is to bring the people affected by this disease either directly or due to the fall out from the illness together. The sponsors of the group are putting together ideas for the monthly meetings that will allow everyone to find some comfort and support while ensuring there is a different energy than a normal group.
There are some key components this group will embrace. One of those components being, activities which will encompass something for everyone. There will also be some education and informational topics scattered throughout the months. In general, these educational portions will mostly be offered as a break out session during the gathering. This will allow us to meet individual needs while ensuring the larger portion of the group is still engaged in something meaningful to them. Lastly, what group is complete without food? So yes! We will be providing some type of refreshments at each meeting.
This group is meeting every 3rd Thursday of the month from 5:30 to 7:00 PM at Crossroads Cancer Center. The first, and arguably the most important meeting, will be held March 15th. March 15th is our kick-off party. We encourage all who are the slightest bit intrigued about what this group can do for you or someone you love to attend. The meeting will be composed of social hour with refreshments, a meet and greet, a layout of the proposed activities for the year, and a chance for the attendees to provide their ideas on activities and educational items they would like to see. This group will be designed based on what the attendees want and feel is important to them, not what the sponsors feel is important. So again, we are encouraging a great turn out to this event as it will shape the future of the group and events that follow.
Last but not least, there will be a contest at the March 15th meeting to choose the name of the group. So, get your ideas flowing. The name must not contain the words “support” or “group.” The name must create a feeling of joy, comradery, friendship, and fun. The name will say it all! We cannot wait to have you as our guests!
The group is also looking for a lot of community support to make the vision a reality. If you would like to contribute in a specific way or want ideas on ways to contribute, or have any other questions, please contact Stephanie Jackson, RN, Oncology Nurse Navigator at 217-342-2066 Monday-Friday or Maddie Johnson, Bereavement Counselor at 217-347-1571 Wednesday-Friday.