By Nina Monsour
No one expects to hear, “You have cancer.”
Whether it’s a personal result or regarding a loved one, this horrific conclusion causes a ripple of fear to all of those affected.
Individuals with cancer should never have to feel alone in their battles, but it can be tremendously hard to focus on healing when one has limited access to support and a plethora of other responsibilities.
The Abernathy family endured a traumatic journey when the patriarch of their family was diagnosed with colon cancer, leaving behind his wife and nine children. The Cancer Support Community turned out to be essential in aiding their emotional healing.
“It was the life vest we needed to keep us from drowning,” they said.
“We all got involved with various programs and started to heal our minds, our bodies, our souls. We learned that there is light in this journey, and the people and services at Cancer Support Community have been ours.”
The Cancer Support Community provides resources for cancer patients, survivors, and their families to promote healthy lifestyles through an array of programs. Individuals within the CSC can access support groups, educational workshops, healthy lifestyle programs, and even financial assistance funding.
“When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, I knew quickly that I couldn’t ‘brave it out’ myself,” said Marion, a lung cancer patient. “I couldn’t intellectualize my cancer, and I couldn’t use my nearest family as confidants — they’d never experienced what I was going through, and I was afraid of wearing them out.”
Marion utilized meditation and support groups through the Cancer Support Community to find peace and share her story with fellow cancer survivors and patients.
“My fellow cancer travelers don’t shock easily. They do not bore easily. They offer comments if I want them to, or they just listen,” she said.
The Cancer Support Community is one of four selected charities participating in Epic Races’ Probility Ann Arbor Marathon on March 24. Individuals can select the Cancer Support Community during registration to designate a portion of registration fees to the nonprofit.
The charity with the most designated registrants will win an additional $1,000 gift from the event sponsor, Probility Physical Therapy.
“Having a local place that provides programs, education, and support for all people impacted by cancer, Cancer Support Community is a tremendous resource for our community,” said Epic Races CEO Eva Solomon. “We are proud to have the opportunity to spread awareness and raise funds to benefit their mission.”
Charlotte was 19 and a sophomore in college when she was first diagnosed with cancer. She underwent six months of chemotherapy, followed by radiation. Life hardly skipped a beat and she believed everything would go back to normal. She didn’t even miss school.
Then, nine months later, it returned.
“(It led) to more than a year of trials, various chemotherapies and other treatments,” she said. “In 2011, I underwent a bone marrow transplant to hopefully ‘cure’ me. Complications led to a year-long hospitalization, as well as issues that plague me to this day.
“Finding the Cancer Support Community has been a dream. I love meeting new people and sharing our lives together. As a young adult with a serious illness (while pursuing two college degrees), resources and understanding have been scarce.
“Having a space where I can attend exercise classes, learn how to cook, connect with others, and so much more is a blessing. I am so grateful for all the CSC has done and meant to me.”
CSC is the only organization of in the Greater Ann Arbor area that offers free services and programs to help those affected by cancer from any area. To register for the Probility Ann Arbor Marathon on behalf of the CSC, visit annarbormarathon.com.