Caring for a loved one coping with cancer can be isolating and frightening. One local group wants others to know that what can feel impossible alone can become manageable in a group.
“We laugh and cry and say things that we could not say anywhere else,” one participant shared. “Together we get through the most difficult time of our lives. Together, we are a family.”
That “family” is the CARE (Caring and Restoring Emotionally) Support Group for men and women caring for a loved one living with cancer.
Group leader Jeanine Bryant, MS, understands the journey of the attendees on a personal level: She cared for her husband after his cancer diagnosis for 18 months, until he died in 1991.
“At the time, I would have given anything to have a place to go to talk about what was happening in my life,” Bryant reflected.
After her husband’s death, Bryant went back to school, earning her Master’s degree and pursuing a career in counseling.
“I always knew I wanted to find a way to help individuals caring for loved ones. Through CARE, we do just that, offering support for all the emotional aspects of caregiving. We help participants explore their feelings and give them tools. We want them to know they are not alone and there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to feel.”
An estimated 1.6 million Americans received a new cancer diagnosis in 2016, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving. Though the effects of cancer most directly impact the individual, the impact of the disease extends to the relatives or friends who care for that person as well.
The NAC estimates that cancer caregivers spend an average of 32.9 hours a week caring for their loved one, with 32 percent of…
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