Published Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Spirit of Giving: Groups donate in fight against cancer

By NICHOLE GOLDEN

nichole@newnan.com

The November meeting of the Cancer Support Group (CSG) was all about family and giving.

Two guest speakers, Lutricia Jones of Poplar Road Elementary and Gregory Coleman of United Health Care, addressed the impact of cancer on families and finding resources for meeting the needs of families stretched beyond survival.

Jones, school counselor at Poplar Road, became aware of the resources available through CSG when planning the funeral of student Mack Ballard, who passed away after a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. “You stepped in and helped,” Jones told the group.

Jones spoke about the loss of Ballard and what he meant to his teachers, classmates and family. She also read her poem, “Spirit of Giving.”

Coleman, who works in the health insurance industry, discussed his work with people whose needs go beyond the purchase insurance.

In the spirit of giving, two organizations presented donations to the CSG for its work to meet the various needs of cancer patients in Coweta.

The Coweta Veterans Club held a golf tournament in September to benefit the group, and Jeff Carroll, VFW commander, and Dick Dennis, commander of the American Legion, presented a donation of the proceeds to Katie Jackson of CSG.

Dennis said that they selected CSG as the recipient as we have all been “touched by cancer in some way.”

Winnie Franks of the Coweta County Health Department also presented a generous donation to the support group. “Every October, we have a breast cancer luncheon,” explained Franks. Employees dress in pink, enjoy lunch together and make donations to support breast cancer patients.

At the Nov. 7 meeting, members also had the chance to meet Piedmont Newnan Hospital’s new cancer nurse navigator, Stephanie Martin. A registered nurse, she helps cancer patients navigate through the continuum of care. Her own husband died of a brain tumor and she went to nursing school after his death.

“You feel out of control,” said Martin about what it’s like to receive a cancer diagnosis.

There were no nurse navigators when she and her husband were dealing with his illness. “There was no such thing,” she said. The navigator’s role is to provide comfort and answer questions.

The Cancer Support Group will have its Annual Holiday Luncheon to be held on Dec. 5 at First Baptist Church in the fellowship hall.

The group meets monthly and is open to patients, survivors, and caregivers.

For more information on the group, call Annie Joe at 770-252-0894 or Katie at 770-502-9097.

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