Date: 5/31/2007

Community Healthcare System hospitals introduce special card from cancer survivors to support recently diagnosed cancer patients

MUNSTER — Community Healthcare System hospitals are introducing a special card to be sent from cancer survivors to patients diagnosed with cancer, providing survivors with an opportunity to extend their encouragement and express care and concern.

Through this project, cancer patients at Community Hospital, St. Catherine Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center will receive a card with a personal message from a cancer survivor.

“Often times patients diagnosed with cancer say no one really understands what they are going through and find comfort in communicating with cancer survivors who shared similar experiences,” Anthony Andello, director of the Cancer Resource Centre, said. “By starting this card project, we wanted our newly diagnosed patients to know there’s a place and a group of people ready to stand by them. Equally important is giving cancer survivors an opportunity to ‘pay forward’ by reaching out to share a personal and uplifting message with someone newly diagnosed.”

The cards were hand assembled by volunteers, cancer survivors and members of the Friends of the Cancer Resource Centre. It was an idea championed by Greg Szyndrowski, a cancer survivor and volunteer of the Resource Centre. The card features a photo of bright yellow flowers in a vase. The photo and verse were inspired by Peg Szgenda, a member of the Friends group and volunteer. A cancer survivor, Szgenda initially designed the card for friends who were going through treatment and after receiving such positive response offered to share the card on a larger scale involving cancer survivors throughout the local community.

The goal of the project is to have 1,500 cards signed, enough cards to patients of the three hospitals who will be diagnosed over the next year. The signing of these cards will begin at the National Cancer Survivor’s Day celebration sponsored by each hospital on Sunday, June 3.

Cancer survivors are invited to sign cards at the Cancer Resource Centre, located at 900 Ridge Road, Suite J, in Munster and special signing sessions will be held throughout the year at the three hospitals. For more information on how to participate, please contact the Cancer Resource Centre at 219-836-3349.

The Cancer Resource Centre helps those affected by cancer obtain the support and resources they need to cope with the cancer diagnosis. All services, which include support groups, educational programs and networking groups, are offered to cancer patients and their families free of charge. The Cancer Resource Centre is a support program supported by the not-for-profit Community Cancer Research Foundation.