At Fran’s Place we know the importance of a “cancer support community” to each cancer patient we serve, and to their family members and caregivers as well. A good support community comes together like a family, helping the cancer patient to face the overwhelming emotions that a cancer diagnosis brings. In addition to facing emotional, physical, and lifestyle challenges, the cancer patient may need help dealing with the side effects from treatment, transportation and accompanying to medical appointments, finding and organizing essential information, dealing with insurance companies and the enormous amount of paperwork associated with it, suggestions on how to improve or simplify personal responsibilities and care routines, like medication and doctor schedule calendars, even simple things like household chores, shopping for groceries, and meal deliveries. The patient’s family members also need support, adjusting to the emotional struggle, increased responsibilities and the disruptions in the family routine.
Good support can have a profound effect on maximizing the patient’s quality of life and minimizing stress and distress.
Sometimes the people closest to a cancer patient don’t know what to do, or how to be supportive. They are sad and frustrated for their friend or family member, and the sadness, shock and frustration can immobilize them. Becoming a supporting part of the cancer patient’s community takes courage, initiative, and strength. Some of the most important and useful qualities needed by a cancer patient include: being a good listener, taking initiative to be available and to do things before you are asked to, providing companionship and encouragement. Some of the best things to say are: “I’m here for you to help and support you in any way I can; you are not alone.”
Fran’s Place helps cancer patient, family members, and caregivers by providing no-charge counseling services. Just like the community surrounding a cancer patient, the Fran’s Place community comes together to support us. All of our internal functions (like accounting, day-to-day operations, marketing, web site, media management, etc.) are performed by volunteers at no charge to the Center. Our recent Walk-a-Thon fundraiser is also a great example of our community coming together. Because we could not safely plan an in-person Monte Carlo Gala fundraiser this year, we created the Walk for Fran’s Place to give people a chance to join together, support us, and participate in helping us make a difference in the lives of cancer patients and their family members.
Here are some of the things our walker/volunteers said about their motivation to help Fran’s Place:
Forming a community that works for the good of the patient, and for the good of a non-profit organization, are keys to success for both.
UPDATE: The Walk for Fran’s Place had 21 Walker/Volunteers, 143 donors, and raised almost $21,000!! Thanks to everyone for this great success. We awarded Amex gift cards and a restaurant gift card in a raffle drawing for donors, and much to our surprise, the winners donated the Amex gift cards back to us! What a generous support community we have.