To help meet this need for knowledge, life-skills and space to share, Women in Action (WiA), a group of pastors' wives from the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), have been trained as cancer counsellors and have started a cancer support group called: "It's all about you".
The first meeting of the support group will be held at the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, 20 Claim Street, Johannesburg on Tuesday 6 March at 14:00. Meetings will be held twice a month for an eight week period.
A specialist will be invited to each meeting to speak on their area of expertise and to answer patients' questions. These will include oncologists, social workers, psychologists and dieticians. Patients and their families will then meet in small groups led by a trained facilitator where they can learn from each other, share concerns and benefit from space and time to absorb information and receive emotional and spiritual support.
Speaking at the launch of the support group in Johannesburg, Denise Bernstein, a cancer survivor who works with The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), explained that information is important in coping with the disease and the treatment regime. She said: "Patients need information on what cancer is, skills and techniques to cope with treatment and help with communicating their feelings. A support group is an important aspect of the treatment process."
Believing that it is important not to let the illness rob people of enjoyment in life, trained teams of WiA volunteers visit the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital oncology wards three times a week, supporting women and children during their treatment regime. Volunteers visit Cape Town's Tygervalley Oncology wards and will soon include the Steve Biko Hospital in Pretoria. They distribute information leaflets and the Cancer Coping Kit which has been developed by CANSA and Let's Talk about Cancer. This information helps newly diagnosed patients overcome the challenges of their illness.
For further information please contact Nametso Mofokeng, UCKG public relations on 011 224 3400.