Survivorship Services Adds Momentum To Cancer Journeys

“You have cancer.”

These are words you never want to hear. Words that are often accompanied by fear, worry and anxiety. Words that begin a new journey. Words that bring with them the impending unknown of what the journey will entail, how to cope with the process, where and who to go to for support.

The journey is different for everyone. Mount Carmel Survivorship Services aims to ease some of that fear, worry and anxiety by becoming a partner on the journey and providing hope, compassion and support to patients and their family members, friends and caregivers. Survivorship programs are free and available to any cancer patient in our community, at any stage in their journey.

“In any particular meeting we could have someone who is newly diagnosed, someone who just started therapy, and someone who is ten years out,” said Mike Uscio, Manager of Mount Carmel Survivorship Services. These individuals can participate in education programs and disease-specific conferences, support groups, exercise programs, massage therapy, counseling services and other people-centered activities.

The program extended its reach last year by joining forces with the Haven of Hope, located at The Zangmeister Center, which provides programs, resources and services to support patients and their loved ones. This collaboration has allowed for the expansion of Mount Carmel Survivorship Services and provides even more patients, caregivers and support people with opportunities to improve their overall health and well-being.

During the past year, 3,631 people attended survivorship programs like a young survivors rock-climbing retreat, Celebration of Life fashion show, dance classes, gentle yoga, meditation, guided imagery and more. The variety of programming available means patients can attend classes and support activities that fit their own unique needs. Patients like Sue who, after being diagnosed with breast cancer and having a lumpectomy, also went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments. “Participating in the classes made me really think about my future health,” she said. “The most important part, though, is the people I’ve met through my journey and at the various programs. I now call these people friends. Had we not gotten our diagnosis, we may never have met.”

Foundation support goes beyond programming to help Survivorship Services address other patient needs and provide help whenever possible. This past year, Foundation funding also provided 150 gas cards totaling $3,750 to patients needing transportation assistance for office appointments, treatment and follow-up visits.

This article was originally published in the 2015 Annual Report to the Community.