October is considered Breast Cancer Awareness Month but I like to think of it as just Cancer Awareness Month. There are so many types of cancer and most, if not all of us, know of or have a friend or family member that has received a cancer diagnosis. My sister fought a battle with a very rare form of brain cancer and died at the age of 42. My father was diagnosed in 2013 with leukemia and has been cancer free since 2015.
There is no “how to” guidebook that tells us how to deal with fear, worry, and stress associated with a cancer diagnosis for ourselves or for a loved one. What if you could be paired up with someone who has been through exactly what you are going through and can provide a listening ear? Someone who can tell you what to expect with treatment, surgery, or side effects of medication. As a caregiver, would it be helpful to be paired with someone who has walked down the same road you are walking down, experiencing the same feelings you are experiencing as you care for your loved one. This type of support would be amazingly valuable, right? What if I told you it is absolutely FREE?!
There Is HOPE At CanCare
I am excited to introduce you to a wonderful non-profit organization called CanCare. CanCare is a free and confidential organization that has over 600 trained volunteers who have survived cancer or were in a caregiver role. The volunteers give their time to offer one-on-one support, hope and encouragement to cancer patients or caregivers.
How It Works:
Volunteer survivors and caregivers are matched to patients by age, gender, type of cancer, stage and treatment protocol. The volunteer chosen will contact the patient/caregiver within 48 hrs.
Anyone. Those who are newly diagnosed, currently in treatment, and those who have finished treatment. Do you have a family history of cancer and just have questions? CanCare is there to help answer patients/caregiver questions and support them no matter what stage they are in.
How Long Does This Service Last?
A patient or caregiver can end this service at any time. Some patients and volunteers have become life-long friends. Others may want a single phone call just to get their questions answered where others are appreciative of the support they receive through their treatments and/or surgery. The ball will always be in their court of the patient or caregiver as to how long and how often you want to stay in touch with their volunteer.
Who Are the Volunteers?
Those that volunteer must be 6 months to 1 year out of treatment. Survivors and caregivers go through an extensive interview process, approximately 2 days of in-house training and online work.
How Do I Get in Touch With CanCare?
A patient or caregiver can call CanCare directly at 713-461-0028, go online at CanCare.org and fill out the online form, or speak with their nurse navigator at their local hospital.
How Can I Become A Volunteer?
Call the number above and speak with a CanCare representative about your desire to become a volunteer.
A special thank you to Pam Sheperd, who works for CanCare, for taking time out of her day to speak with me regarding CanCare and their mission to provide support for cancer patients who have been recently diagnosed, in cancer treatment, or post treatment. Learn more about CanCare by visiting their website at cancare.org.
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