It's hard to believe that it's already February! The holidays have passed and the new year is well under way. Every day our social workers are meeting with new patients at Highlands Oncology Group. Last year they met with 3 of every 4 patients who received treatment at Highland's. We're so pleased to have made those important connections and our goal is to beat that number this year.
When Jessica, Christy and Miki meet with those new patients they usually find that they have many questions or concerns stemming from their cancer diagnosis. Many of them have a great support system standing by to help them cope with their emotional and financial needs as they make the journey down the road to recovery, but very often they do not. Even if they are fairly comfortable with the treatments they are receiving or their financial situation, though, it's likely they struggle with internal fears and bouts of depression that are natural for anyone in their situation.
We recently found a great non-clinical grassroots program that addresses these feelings of depression and you can get involved to help! When Meaghan was diagnosed in 2007 with end-stage cancer she was given a 20% chance of survival. But not only has she survived, but she also just completed law school!! Meaghan and her friend Stacy (who is currently battling melanoma) have created a wonderful blog, and associated service, called Spirit Jump. The mission of these two wonderful ladies is to connect caring people to people who need some emotional support. They accept submissions of names of people dealing with a cancer diagnosis and add them to their list, then they match them with folks who have contacted them to say "who can I help?".
Meaghan's personal story (you can read it here on her blog) describes how the little notes and gifts she received almost every day during her lengthy hospital stays kept her spirits up, and were a constant - and crucial - reminder that she was being prayed for and was loved... and it made a huge difference in her attitude. She wants to give that same inspiration and encouragement to others who are going through the same process. It's not always easy to remain optimistic when a patient is dealing with dozens of pills, tests, scans, nausea, anxiety... and the smallest gesture can have a huge impact.
Check out their site, and consider joining this wonderful effort. It only takes a few moments to send a card, and the emotional benefit for a cancer patient would be tremendous.