Group provides support to cancer patients, survivors

  • Published
  • By Sheila Rupp
  • Nucleus Journalist
Nearly 1.5 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Those diagnoses cross all races, ethnicities and ages and include servicemembers and their families. A new group on base has formed to help support cancer patients, survivors and their families.

Chap. (Maj.) Thom Porter said when his wife, Connie, was diagnosed with cancer they realized there had to be a lot of other people here who have or had cancer. He said they went to other support groups, but really wanted to meet with people of a similar background, including members of the military family.

They joined with other members of Team Kirtland to form a support group that meets at the Chapel the first Monday of each month. He said the goal of the group is to address the different needs that participants may have, because all cancers are different, as well as to involve families in the coping and healing processes.

There are already five members in the group. Deb Andrews said when she was first diagnosed with a grade four brain tumor she was told she had between two months and two years to live. She said having a support group has been very helpful because it gives you a chance to talk about feelings and worries, but it also gives the opportunity to hear success stories and about different treatments patients are getting. Mrs. Andrews also said that the group is a good place to meet new friends who understand what you're going through.

"I have gone through denial, scared and angry feelings. ... I am no Lance Armstrong, but I am going to beat this," Mrs. Andrews said.

The group meets in the Chapel at 6 p.m. on the first Monday of each month. For more information about the group, contact Chaplain Porter at 846-5691.