Gerber Memorial free support group helps those going through cancer share stories, hopes
FREMONT – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is providing patients, survivors and caregivers going through cancer with a platform to share their experiences, stories and journeys of hope. A new cancer support group is scheduled the second Wednesday of every month, with an upcoming session on Wednesday, Sept. 12, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Tamarac, 1401 W. Main St. Fremont.
“Having a resource like the cancer support group can empower people to be active participants in their healthcare,” said Joni Erlewein, nurse practitioner at the Gerber Memorial Cancer Center. “They have a chance to meet others who may face the same hurdles and may find things that have been helpful to other patients in their journey. In my experience, I’ve seen support groups give patients a venue to ask questions they may feel uncomfortable asking the provider, but feel at ease to discuss in small groups. This has also been an avenue for education related to topics that may concern all patients.”
The September cancer support group will include a presentation from Susan Strickfaden, NP, who will discuss survivorship and what it means. The support groups are free and open to the public.
“Gerber Memorial encourages the patients we serve and their families to take part in our free support groups because they’re a great way for people to make connections with others so they recognize that they’re not going through their healthcare journeys alone,” said Shelly Klochack, RN, and moderator of the support groups. “Support groups are a way to build friendships with others and do what these sessions are supposed to do, which is provide support to each other.”
Klochack also leads support groups for patients and caregivers going through Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and stroke.
At these support group sessions, the moderator and participants as well as friends and family accompanying them are invited to talk about their individual experiences, inspiration and hope, challenges they face, and ways to cope and thrive.
The Spectrum Health Cancer Center at Gerber Memorial saw 2,912 patients this past year, an increase of 150 patients compared to a year ago, with many of them from the Newaygo County area.
The Cancer Support Group meets the second Wednesday of every month from 3:30 p.m.to 5 p.m. It provides information and inspiration for cancer survivors and their caregivers. Call 231.924.7589 or 231.924.3275, for any questions.